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On Site | Optimize your Monitor – Step One in Color Management


by Brenda K. Hipsher – January 20th, 2011

There’s one thing you can do to improve your photography, improve your print output, increase your enjoyment of your photography…. PROFILE YOUR MONITOR!  When I’m out in the field I’m asked all the time, “Why don’t my prints match my monitor?”  Almost every time the person asking the question assumes that the problem is with the printer profile or some other issue with the lab they’re using.  My first question….”What are you using to profile your monitor?”  And almost without exception comes the predictable answer, “It’s not my monitor. My monitor looks fine!”  And they’re usually right.

We can’t just look at our monitor and evaluate whether the output is correct. Our eyes adjust to whatever we’re seeing.  That means if our monitor is too bright, has a color shift, or even if it’s higher contrast than it should be our eyes have an amazing capacity to see what they want to see.  This is why our eyes are really not really good instruments with which to profile our monitors.  We really need a software and hardware system so that we can compare our monitor output with a standard that most labs and others are using.

Remember we talked about the need to profile our devices in a recent post called Why Nothing Matches. Because our devices don’t produce the same set of colors, color management allows our devices to “speak the same language” and translate one set of colors to another. This allows us to see what’s in the file and predict what the print output will look like.  And the first step in this process is profiling the monitor.

When we profile our monitors we get a lot out of that endevour:

  • We see the color, luminance and contrast that we captured in our camera
  • We are able to standardize how we view another person’s image and have an assurance we’re seeing it the same way they’re seeing it.
  • We see what our lab sees when they view the file in preparation for pringing.
  • We see what a predictable representation of what we can print on our desktop printer.

There’s a great resource on www.xritephoto.com in the Learning tab under a topic called Need to Know. There you’ll find an option called Optimize your Monitor – Monitor Profiling Mac/Win.  It’s a great down-loadable document that starts with the 4 C’s of Color Management. It’s no accident that consistency is the base upon which the rest of it is built. Take a few minutes and download the whole document to get a great overview of the whole process of color management for digital photography.

This is just one document sitting there waiting for you to download and learn anytime day or night.  Check out all the great documents on www.xritephoto.com in the Learning tab under a topic called Need to Know. And be sure to follow XritePhoto on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest software updates, new product info, Coloratti News and more!

Go to Your First Step on the Learning tab at www.xritephoto.com.  Click on the “Play” button and see why eyes are not the best instruments to profile monitors.

Categories: Ambient, Displays, Education, Lighting, On Site, Profiles, Viewing, White Balance | Tags: , , , , ,

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