Image editing with your eyes closed…

Be warned, I am about to get on my soapbox.

Every once and awhile I have the "desire" to reinforce the need for and importance of monitor calibration (usually after a conversation with someone who "poo poo's" its significance).

Monitor calibration is not sexy (heck, it's not even fun), it's mere mention causes peoples eyes glaze over and they start looking for the nearest exit (or the closest ledge from which to jump).

But it's such an important part of photography workflow that if you ignore it, your images will be less than they could be.

So... if you would be happy with Stevie Wonder editing your images you can stop reading right here, otherwise please read on.

Here are several educational/informational resources to check out:

1. Earle Christie gave a very informative presentation/Q&A at the Maine Photographer Coalition and an online article he wrote on the subject "Predictable Color" is a must read.

2. If you want to delve even deeper into the subject then head over to Digital Dog, you'll find many great articles on calibration, calibration tools, and profiles.

3. My take on monitor calibration (back to Stevie) - if you are editing your images on an un-calibrated monitor it's like putting on rose colored glasses before you start image editing, which makes it a huge exercise in futility, because I don't know anybody who can make precise (and accurate) color corrections and adjustments when they're not even looking at the real colors!

There are a handful of really good tools out there to help you calibrate your monitor and after looking at the different options I settled on what I think is the best and easiest calibration tools available, the Spyder3Elite from DataColor.

I could ramble on about why I like this product more than any other, but you can take a quick tour of it here and see how it would fit into your workflow.

If you think I am overstating the importance of monitor calibration then don't take my word for it, take the word of someone many believe to be one of the finest photographers of our day, Vincent Versace.

Below is an audio excerpt from an interview he did with, and is his response to the question about the importance of calibrating your monitor (it's only 4 minutes long and worth every second of listening):

Vincent Versace on monitor calibration

Okay, move away, I am about to step down from my soapbox now.


Earl Christie said...

I couldn't agree more!!!! Working with a profiled monitor is the most important step to getting consistent color as a photographer.

BTW, it's really weird to see my name mentioned in one of RSS feeds I read every day. Thanks Scott!

Michael said...

You can edit without a profiled monitor and get accurate prints. It is not easy, requires skill, skin tone numbers, and time. Been there, done that, bought a Huey then a Spyder2.

Another post I am sharing with my photography club.

Chance said...

I always cringe when I read a post like this, but it's because I know you're right and I just need to take the time to force myself to finally do it. As always, thank you! :)

Scott said...

I should have mentioned this in the post, but there are photographers who do everything but color correction when editing.

Then they upload their images to their printing vendor and have them take care of color correction (which many do for free), which is certainly a reasonable option.

Scott said...


I am honored to find out you read Weekly Photo Tips… and darn happy I didn’t plagiarize any of your work on color correction!



jonywoker said...

Great.....I want this type of acknowledgment for decorating my home using Canvas Prints, You said that photos makes your home a i really excite to see that.

Marion Rundell said...

I calibrate my monitor! My monitor id darker and bluer when I am finished. However, when I send pictures to others who do not calibrate, they complain that my pictures are too bright or too yellow. It is very frustrating to get negative comments when I know I am doing the right thing. What do you do about this?