Monitor Calibration

Before processing images on the computer, we should first deal with calibration and colour management, starting off with monitor calibration.

Before processing images on the computer, we should first deal with calibration and colour management, starting off with monitor calibration. This is due to the fact that only a calibrated monitor displays the colours almost identically to those in the file. The monitor calibration should be repeated at certain intervals, as the monitor properties for displaying colour can change over time. In the following, various types of monitor calibration are explained. There are several different options for monitor calibration.

Hardware solution
The best but also the most expensive option is calibration with the respective hardware. In this process, a colorimeter is superimposed on the monitor before starting the calibration procedure. The software that is included displays various colours and shades of grey on the monitor and the metering device determines the effectively existing colours. Using the difference of these values, a profile for the output device is created which allows you to adjust the effective value. Theoretically with this method, an image should then look the same on every calibrated monitor.

Software solution
Monitor calibration that is possible using certain software is only a compromise compared to hardware based systems as an assessment is subjective to the human eye. However, this technique is better than simply blindly assuming that monitor and graphic card will be in sync. Here, settings of colour, contrast and gamma are adjusted and tested on test images. On you will find a very good site about calibration without hardware.

  • The “Monitor Calibration Wizard” is a program that simplifies monitor calibration. Information about it can be found on the manufacturer’s homepage
  • For Adobe Photoshop users, the small Adobe Gamma program is available. Here the program also provides test graphics that can be analysed according to instructions. The settings are adjusted accordingly. If you have Adobe Photoshop installed on your computer, you will find this program in the control panel.

Calibration using test print

Attention! This is a compromise solution that is not intended for professional work. Still, using this method is still better than foregoing any calibration whatsoever.
If you always use the same lab to develop your photos and do not wish to spend money on a calibration device, at least adapt your monitor’s settings to those of the outgoing image. This ensures that your photos will at least look similar to the way they look on the computer.

  • To do this, pick an image that has many different colour and brightness values. Print this image and compare the result to that on the computer screen/monitor. Compensate and correct colour and brightness if need be, until you reach the highest degree of similarity.
  • Under the following link you will find an example image that was specially developed to meet calibration requirements – Test file for test image


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