If the question is whether you should or should not calibrate your monitor, the answer is yes. If you are a photographer, you definitely should. But why?

If you have ever ordered prints from your favorite digital lab or printer (or tried printing yourself), you may have been disappointed in the results. Has this happened to you?

For example, most prints come back too dark. That’s because most people set their computer monitors far too bright, overcompensating during image processing by making it “darker.” You need to set the brightness to a standard. By calibrating your monitor, you will get the right setting for brightness – as well as white balance, contrast, and color fidelity. You want your computer monitor is to display these important factors as accurately as possible so the prints look as accurately as possible to what you saw on the screen.

At left, you can see how the Datacolor Spyder colorimeter hangs over the edge of the computer screen and reads the color and light values from the monitor during a calibration diagnostic test.

Monitor calibration is the first and one of the most important steps toward creating a true color-managed workflow.

 

Calibrate your Monitor

Here are the three programs that I recommend for calibrating your computer monitor. Each consists of a piece of hardware called a colorimeter, a device which reads the light and color directly from your screen, and software which then evaluates that information and writes a custom device profile for your screen. It’s actually much easier than it sounds (all links below to Amazon).

Datacolor Spyder5PRO for serious photographers.
Datacolor Spyder5EXPRESS for beginners.
X-Rite ColorMunki Display for serious photographers.

Monitor calibration establishes a vital link between your eyes and your computer screen. Its the first, and perhaps most important, step toward creating a true color managed workflow.
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