View Full Version : Monitor and printer calibration. I have no idea where to begin!
Jun 22, 2009, 08:19 PM
I just got Aperture and, though I've been a pretty serious photographer for a few years now, I'm starting to get more into doing actual prints and messing with RAW and thus realizing how important color correction and calibrating is. I definitely realize my MBPs screen, my external monitor, and my printer are all out of sync with each other when it comes to this. The only problem is I really have to idea where to begin to fix this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
And before anybody even thinks the word "Search," I don't want to try to piece together random threads on calibration and attempt to figure it out; that's how lost I am.
Jun 22, 2009, 09:05 PM
SEARCH - sorry couldn't resist - I hate when people say that. :p
Well the simple/short answer is to purchase a monitor calibrator - like Spyder.
Remember the quality of your monitor has A LOT to do with color accuracy. I would suggest getting a monitor with an 8-bit IPS panel.
I would start there and see how accurate your prints are coming out.
Jun 22, 2009, 09:07 PM
Oh one other thing - if you're using a dual monitor setup (i.e. MBP and external monitor) you will want to make sure you get the calibrator that will calibrate a dual monitor setup.
Jun 23, 2009, 02:28 PM
The weird thing is it used to be fine using Lightroom, to the printer anyway. It doesn't support dual monitor things, so I didn't have the issue of them being different, but they printed fine. It seemed to mainly be the blues that were affected as well. For the most part, prints are looking great, but this one lady (from my uncle's wedding) was wearing a teal/cyan shirt, and it printed out as a deep blue. I was like what the heck?
Jun 24, 2009, 10:07 AM
OK...to keep it simple, you need a basic colorimeter and some kind of calibration software...I assume you're not a professional photographer (I am) but you're advanced enough that spending a few bucks probably makes sense. Take a look at this site...
I use Monaco EZColor software and their MonacoOptix calibration device...the updated version of this is the EZcolor with i1Display 2 Bundle...
Yeah, it's 500 bones, but that's kinda the cost of real calibration. X-Rite also markets the 'ColorMunki', which I would strongly advise against...it seems to offer more/better solutions for amateur photographers, but in fact is not really living up to X-Rite's hopes...my rep says they get a lot of returns on the ColorMunki.
Anyway, once you get a device/software, it's crazy easy to calibrate your monitor...it's an automatic system that walks you through each step and takes less than 5 minutes. I calibrate my four monitors (and laptops) every week, but you would probably be OK with once a month unless you keep your monitors blazing all the time. The thing to remember is that you monitor is basically on a downward death spiral from the moment you buy it and the whole point of calibration is to adjust for the decline in color and brightness over the life of the monitor. If I load in monitor profiles I did even six months ago I'm amazed at the difference in color!
The next step is to get your head around working in a specific color space and try to fully understand Photoshop color settings (or Lightroom, or Aperture...), printing/paper profiles, printer profiles and setting up custom profiles for individual papers & inks. You first must decide what color space you wanna work in. Almost every digital camera will shoot in the SRGB color space, but most pro's work in Adobe RGB (1998) because of it's winder color gamut (lotsa technical crap here, but if you're REALLY interested, check this out... http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/sRGB-AdobeRGB1998.htm ). The number one thing to do is the be consistent! Whatever workflow you decide on, stick with it so that when you come back to an image 6 days, 6 months or 6 years later, you will be working in the same fashion and things will look relatively the same. Once your color space is determined, you must ALWAYS 'tell' your image editing software what final output profile you intend to work in...in Photoshop that means going to the 'View' menu, choosing 'Proof Setup' and then from the pull-down menu choosing whatever custom paper profile corresponds to the paper you will be printing on. As I said above, you can also get into making your own custom paper & ink profiles with the EZColor software, but honestly, if you're printing on an Epson or Canon printer and using their inks with their paper, the paper and ink profiles supplied by the manufacturers are balls-on accurate. I have only ever had to make a custom profile when I've used special 'Art' papers that suck up the inks in weird ways...
Finally, one thing about ink.....don't believe what second-party, discount ink sellers say about their products.....original inks from the printer manufacturers are 'the best' and the only ones that will work correctly with the profiles provided by those companies. If you choose to use second-party inks, you MUST set up a custom profile using the calibration software. This isn't hard, but it's gotta be done some the dyes used by the second-party will never match those of Epson or Canon.
That link to Cambridge in Color has a lot of other really useful tips, especially in the tutorials section ( http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials )...use it...learn it...love it!!!