Client Story: BBC books, Earth from Space

If you enjoyed the BBC series “Earth from Space” then you will love the book that accompanies the series. I was commissioned by the editor Bethany Wright to work on the images for the book.  Working closely with the Picture Editor Laura Barwick I set to translating the images from multiple sources into as coherent and high fidelity rendition as possible.

Again it was a matter of going through a little pain to translate the images as best as possible and using the maximum bandwidth allowed to control color, contrast and sharpness using the most up to date software. It was important to retain subtly in the satellite images as this gave the images a richness that was inherent in the broadcast. Im pleased to see that this has resulted in a very handsome book that has already been drawing praise from online reviewers.

Joining the usual raw video still frames, raw stills and miscellaneous jpegs in the source material were some enormous files direct from satellites. This is the first time I have worked directly on satellite imagery and it was very interesting to do so. Much like raw video shot with Log Gamma the original files were very low in contrast and were enormous (in the hundreds of megapixels range), once layered in Photoshop it was not uncommon for the files to be in the Gigabytes range. Thankfully the monster PC handled the job smoothly and enabled me to extract the underlying image from the source. A very rewarding task.

Available at all good book shops now or Amazon.

Do you or your organisation have a flagship book project underway? perhaps with images from a variety of sources? the likelihood is that the book will vary in quality as most printers will simply use the images as supplied and will not correct for cast, exposure and sharpness issues. If you want the highest possible quality and consistency then you need the images graded in a fully colour managed environment by someone who is experienced and prepared to go through a little bit of pain to make things work, call me and lets discuss.

Stephen Johnson

Specialist image grading for best quality CMYK repro

Always nice to receive finished books after working on projects for clients, recently I have received two.

The first book is “Our Planet” from the Netflix series of the same name. This is a superb and questioning work of Producers Alistair Fothergill and Keith Scholey. I normally work in association with Alistair and Keith via other clients such as the BBC and Disney nature but this is the first (and very impressive) outing for Netflix.

All aspects of this production are of the highest order and I took seriously my responsibility to grade and prepare the video and still images for the book and PR so that they represent the project as best as possible. The book is available from all good book sellers (or Amazon).


The second book is  “Seeking Leviathan” by Christopher Swann (better known as Swanny).
Swanny is a superb photographer and knows his subject matter well, this book is a fabulous collection of his life’s photographic work in the worlds oceans photographing the creatures he loves (whales, dolphins and other cetaceans).

He is a very modest man but this book is a Master work of how to put passion about a subject on to the page. It is detailed, humorous, honest and superbly set out – highly recommended.

Swanny approached me to help translate his underwater images to the printed page. Underwater images can die a very horrible death when printed in CMYK inks and I have developed several techniques to maximize the quality of the repro to better represent the original images.

These techniques were developed in my work for photographers Sue Flood and Doug Allan as well as the BBC and Disney nature and allow underwater scenes to be seen in natural form rather than the posterised and muddy magenta/cyan blues that normally occur.

The book was designed by Dorothy Jackson and she has also done a fabulous job with the layout (

The book is available direct from Swanny here: