It’s infuriating when the colour tone and brightness of your photo prints look vastly different from the image you see on your computer screen. The solution is monitor calibration – making sure that the colours your PC displays are as accurate as possible.
Proper monitor calibration helps you avoid misplaced adjustments and ensures you get the best possible results from your photographs. It’s also essential when printing or uploading to an online image gallery.
Getting monitor colour, brightness and contrast right sounds scary, but it’s quite easy. Once you know what you see on-screen is accurate you’ll find printing headaches will usually disappear.
Simple monitor calibration isn’t difficult, and with the in-built tools now available with Mac OS and Windows 7 (and Windows 8), it only takes a few minutes to get a good level of accuracy (if you do want to take it further a professional colorimeter is essential).
So don’t be frightened; give monitor calibration a go – you’ll be surprised at the difference.
Monitor calibration step by step
01 View in the right light
If your monitor is under strong light, this can influence its colour. Try calibrating your screen in a room lit with a daylight bulb. If you’re running XP or Vista, right-click on the desktop and choose Properties. Click on the Settings tab and set Colour Quality to the highest setting.
02 Adjust your monitor
Click your monitor’s menu and set Temperature to 6500k. Windows 7 (in the Control Panel) and Mac OS (in System Preferences) both contain basic monitor calibration software. For older Windows systems, download Quick Gamma.
03 Set up your printer
When it comes to printing, the easiest option is to use the same brand of printer and paper. In Photoshop’s Print window, select Printer Manages Colour and then select the paper. Most third-party paper manufacturers offer downloadable ICC colour profiles.
04 Use a colorimeter
A dedicated colorimeter like the ColorMunki tunes monitor and printer by checking the ambient light, monitor and printed colour. It then creates custom monitor and printer profiles and sets them up automatically. They’re not cheap, but are worth it.
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