Monitor calibration refers to the process of adjusting and balancing the colors, brightness, and contrast on your monitor to match the general standard.
As a photographer, you might’ve encountered several occassions where a picture looks brighter on your friend’s monitor while it looks darker on yours. This is where monitor calibration comes in.
Monitor calibration will ultimately present one image in the same way across any monitor. Hence, you won’t have to worry about pictures coming out not the way you wanted.
With that being said, in this article I will explain the step-by-step process for monitor calibration. Not just that, it will also answer the FAQ that you might be curious about.
Mac Monitor Calibration for Photography
For all Mac users out there, here’s how you can use your built-in tools. Firstly, open System Preferences.
Go to Displays > Color > Calibration. A Display Calibrator Assistant will then appear and walks you through the process.
Every display monitor and your lighting is distinct, so this screen will help you determine the monitor’s native lighting response. Depending on your display type, there might me additional adjustment settings such as “gamma” and “contrast”.
At first, you’ll encounter few pages asking you to adjust the slider on screen until the Apple logo in the background is indistinguishable. Complete each of them, and click Continuer.
Next, you’ll then be asked to do is to select a “target white point“by adjusting the slider on the screen. The target white point is used to adjust the overall color tint of the display. It is recommended to use the “native white point” which can be done by selecting the checkbox. However, you can also manually adjust it.
Take your time to make sure adjustment is done correctly, then click “Continue”.
Once you’re finished, Apple automatically creates a new color profile that matches your settings. To complete the calibration, you just need to name the new color profile before saving.
The conclusion screeen will show the details of the new calibrated display profile. To quit the calibrator, click “Done”.
You can always repeat the steps above and create a new profile.
Read also: Flat vs Curved Monitor: Which One to Choose?
Windows Monitor Calibration for Photography
Like Mac, Windows also have their own built-in calibration tools. Open the Control Panel.
On the search bar, enter “color management”. Click “Advanced” tab > Calibrate Display.A window will soon appear.
The first few pages will tell you some instructions regarding calibration. Click “Next”.
The good thing about Windows is that they give clear instructions and samples of what to look for during adjustments.
Now, adjust the gamma. You can do this by moving the slider until the dots on screen is less visible. This will now change the color and brightness of your screen.
Next, adjust the brightness. Using the controls on your display, set the brightness higher or lower until you can distinguish the shirt from the suit with X barely visible.
Following the brightness, you may now adjust the contrast. Using the contrast control on your display, set the contrast as high as possible while maintaining the display of other objects on the screen,
If you’re satisfied with everything, click “Finish” and your profile will be saved.
Similar with Mac, you can always repeat the steps above or cancel anytime to undo the calibration.
As an alternative to the built-in tools, you can also use online calibration tools and calibration kits. This applies to both Mac & Windows.
Some available online calibration tools are:
- Photo Friday
- Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages
Calibration kits are not free, but they prove their worth compared to the free tools mentioned above. Photographers usually use them to reduce the chances of encountering errors when calibrating.
There you have it! Step-by-step process of monitor calibration for both Mac and Windows users. Monitor calibration plays a huge role in your life as a photographer, yet still not much people are aware of its importance. Hence, calibrate your monitor from time to time, using any tools you prefer.
How often should you calibrate your monitor?
Ensure that you calibrate your monitor after your initial purchase. However, your monitor gets old overtime, affecting its brightness and display.Therefore, it’s advised to calibrate your monitor regularly every 2-6 weeks.
How do I know if my monitor is calibrated correctly?
The easiest is to try printing your image and compare the printed result to the image on your monitor. Check if they’re exactly the same.
What is sRGB mode on my monitor?
It stands for “Standard Red Green Blue” which is used to define color space. Simply speaking, sRGB determines the colors displayed on screen or in print.