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 PopPhoto.com, 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.