SEEING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY – This is definitely a case of WHAT YOU SEE IS NOT WHAT YOU GET. Chances are pretty good that what you are seeing on your monitor, when it comes to photos and graphics, is NOT what you will get when you print them out. Your monitor needs to be calibrated.
If you are using a photo editing program on your computer to “enhance” your personal photos, you may have noticed that what you get when that photo is printed doesn’t look anything like what you saw on your screen. If this is happening to you, odds are your computer MONITOR is in need of calibration.
Here’s a quick test:
Can you see a difference between the patches marked 0 and 10? If they appear to be the same then you need to calibrate your monitor’s black point. How about the patches marked 95 and 100? Do they appear to be the same? If they do then you need to calibrate your monitor’s white point. Do the patches appear to have a color tint? You can correct problem by calibrating monitors gamma for each color channel individually.
Now, stand ten feet from your monitor and examine the box on the bottom. If the smooth patch is darker or lighter than the background then you need to calibrate monitor gamma.
If your monitor failed one or more of these tests, don’t worry….you won’t have to spend a fortune sending the monitor out, or for a device to do the calibration for you. You can do it yourself, for FREE.
If you are using Windows 7, there is an application built in to help you calibrate the monitor for you. Go to the “Start” button and in the “Search” box, type in “dccw”. Click on the result and it will launch the app. It is a pretty easy process to follow, and best of all, it’s FREE.
If you are on a PC but don’t have that operating system, never fear, you can calibrate black and white points without any special software. Then to adjust monitor gamma you’ll need to download a FREE special software app called QuickGamma.
If you are on a Mac (using OSX), we’ve got you covered as well. Most people don’t realize that OS X includes its own monitor calibrator. To access it, open the Displays preference pane and click on the Color tab. When you click on Calibrate, OS X launches the Display Calibrator Assistant, which walks you through the steps required to adjust your screen. At the bottom of the screen, turn on the Expert Mode option and then click on the “Continue” button.
Keep in mind, monitor calibration is not a one-time thing. Over time, with age, the monitor will change and you will need to repeat the process. Fortunately, the calibration effort is quick, simple and FREE, so put it on your list of monthly maintenance items. Your photos will be so glad you did!!