Which red is red, and is it really red?
Well, there are international standards which define ways of measuring colours and can give absolute values and meaning to the numbers in a RGB value.
These numbers are completely independent of any device (screen or printer) that may be used to display the colours represented.
However, consider your computer monitor - does its version of red match up with a standard?
No, and what's more, if you have a second monitor, its red probably won't match the first one.
The red (or any other colour) produced by your monitor is said to be 'device dependant'. One 'R' value may produce one colour red on one monitor and a different version on another.
What about your printer? Here it's even more difficult, since you are trying to reproduce red from coloured inks, none of which is (usually) red.
So many reds to choose from...
How do I even know that my camera has captured the 'correct' colour red?
Colour management is all about trying to relate all these device dependant colours to standards in a consistent and useful way.
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It's about trying to make sure that the picture I took of the red bus looks correct on my screen, your screen, my printer and your printer -- and they all match (as best as they can) to the bus I saw in the street at the time.
Typically, things called 'icc profiles' provide the translation between what an actual physical device can do, and the standards. Fortunately you don't have to worry too much about about how they do their work, since most of what they do is taken care of by your computer's operating system.
Colour management helps you get colour right more often...
It can get a bit more complicated though :-)
If you're looking for calibrators or profiling kit then we have reviews of most of the currently available kit listed below, along with more detailed articles about colour management.
For most people, the first step is to get their monitor calibrated - as easy task with modern measuring devices and software.
Many of the reviews also include explanations of why you would use the products, not just tests of how well they work.