Calibrate your Monitor
I was recently forced to switch over to a new monitor for editing photos after my last working CRT monitor blew something inside and went up in a puff of smoke. After looking around at various makes and models of new generation monitors I eventually settled on an AOC 2235 23″ LCD Monitor. This was a big switch considering that I have used CRT monitors for editing in the past. Many people have asked my why I still use CRT monitors, and the question is quite simple… they are consistent. With LCD and LED monitors there is always a slight colour or contrast variance depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Even these small variances can affect the way that you edit photos and affect the way the photos look when printed. Obviously you want photos to look the way that they were edited and look on screen!
The AOC 2235 is a great little monitor with a wide 23″ screen and great colour out of the box… for gaming and general use. When it came down to editing photos I soon realised I needed to calibrate the monitor to produce images that would look on print as they did on screen. I went back to some monitor calibration tools I have used in the past to get the screen to display exactly what I was printing. To check and set some of the most important settings I turned to a great website which has some test images you can use to calibrate your monitor over at The Lagom LCD monitor test pages. The second tool I used was a freeware Gamma Adjustment utility called QuickGamma.
It is vital to any professional photographer that what they see on screen is what is printed. Irrespective of whether the client has a calibrated monitor to view the photos you supply on disk, you want the look to be as you edited them when they go to print. As a note you should always mention to your customers that images viewed on their own PC may not display as they would when printed and that you have edited the photos for print, and not for display.
Though I am very happy with my new AOC 2235 monitor I will go back to CRT any day if only I was able to find a 21″ monitor of good quality again. Though the general PC user out there may think LCD and LED monitors are great they are really not that great for professional photographic editing. If you want to see what I mean then open any photo in full screen on your PC (if you have a LED or LCD monitor) and then move your head up and down and left to right to change your angle of view and note how there are changes in the colour, contrast and lightness of the picture in some areas. These changes may seem subtle, but they do affect a professional photographers’ editing method.