Calibrating your Monitor

Everyone needs to calibrate their monitors. If you want accurate color rendition on your screen, you need to calibrate. If you send your images out for printing, competitions or just uploading to your website, you need to calibrate your monitor. It is very simple to do and there are a number of manufacturers of equipment out there.

The first thing you need is a calibrater. There are a few to choose from. X-rite makes a couple. They have a simplified devices such as the Colormunki Display ($189.00) which will calibrate your laptop, desktop display and your projector. The Colormunki Photo ($510). That will will do all the displays, along with your printer for printer profiles. That is handy if you use off brand paper and need to make paper profiles, a whole other subject.

They then have devices with more control, more for the professional photographer or someone that just wants more control of their color. Those devices are I1 Display Pro ($269.00) which will do the displays and projectors and the I1 PhotoPro 2 ($1650) which will let you also do the displays and projectors, plus your scanner and printer, so you can control the color from beginning to end.

Check out their web site at for tutorials and technical info on the devices.

The other company that has a device is Datacolor, they make the Spyder 5 calibrator in two models. They have the Spyder 5 Pro ($189.00) for the displays and the Spyder 5 Elite which does displays and projectors. They also have Spyder studio ($559.00) which will also let you do printer profiles.

For profiling your monitor, there are a couple of settings to remember to use. The program will take you through some of them, but here are some setting that you might want to use. I set my White point to D65 (6500 degrees Kelvin), this is close to the noon time sun and I like the colors I get from this setting. The next is Luminance of your display, the newer display are brighter than the old ones, so if your prints are looking dark, it might mean your display is too bright. The luminance should be set for 120 cd/m2. This will make the screen darker, it will make the print look lighter, it sounds crazy but actually works. You will notice the darker screen for a short time, but your eyes will adjust to it pretty quickly and you will never know that you changed it. The final setting that is important is the Gamma setting, it used to be different for Mac and PC computers. There are now both the same, it should be set at 2.2.

With these setting put into the program, hook up the calibrator and run the program, it will step you though the process. At the end just name your profile and save it. I suggest adding a date code to the name, so that you know which one you are using. I have found that you should recalibrate about once every 4 weeks. I have gone longer, since the new display do not shift as much as the old one did, but 4 weeks is pretty good and it does not take that long to do.

So calibrate those monitors, so that you have accurate color for when people look at your images in either competitions or just something you have on the web. It will also improve the color rendition when you make prints or books at the different labs you might use.

X-rite website is Datacolor’s website is