Why is it important to calibrate your monitor or laptop?

So why is it important to calibrate your monitor while working with photos (and video) before publishing them online, selling them, giving them away or making prints?

The first argument against you will hear is that; no one else has a calibrated screen, so why should I care?

Does that mean that you shouldn’t take care of your car either; because you may crash with another who doesn’t anyway? That is seeing it from completely the wrong angle, you should always make your best so your work is as good and correct as it can be. You can’t control who is seeing your photos online, but you can control that those photos you upload are good.

Everybody has probably browsed through its own photos online with your smart phone, tablet, another computer and maybe even on your computer at work and seen that they all make your lovely photos look different, maybe over saturated and even right out wrong with ugly color cast? Maybe you even just didn’t pay more attention to it, only thinking it’s just how it is? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

My wife works as a graphic designer and illustrator and I remember one time she got feedback from a client whose complaint was that the image she sent over had a green tint over it. Together we formed an answer asking about what type of monitor he was watching the file and if it was calibrated and added that the file looked fine on hers calibrated monitors. The answer back was that he was watching the file on a cheap old laptop. Obviously she couldn’t have answered a client in the same way if she wasn’t confident that the file she sent was perfect from her side. And that is the whole essence here, you can’t control how others view your photos, but you can make sure it’s all ok from your side.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of monitors and TV’s and very very few of them won’t benefit from a calibration. And almost all of those who don’t benefit are the expensive ones dedicated for photo or designers and comes calibrated from the factory, but also they will slowly fade away from the optimum and will benefit from a new calibration after some time. All the rest of the monitors (including laptop screens) will benefit to a lesser or higher degree of a calibration.

You don’t need a high end monitor before it’s advisable to calibrate, any monitor deserve to perform at its best. I remember my first LCD monitor where I spent days and weeks to try to tweak the best performance out of it and was very reluctant to buy a calibrating device because I was quite satisfied with it. Anyway a bought a Datacolor Spyder and calibrated the monitor that I actually was satisfied with as it was and was completely caught by surprise on how much better it became! After calibration it looked really good and the photos looked very believable and real to what I saw when I took the photos.

After this experience I’ve never tried to make adjustments on the monitor myself, just running the calibrating device with stock settings and never looked back. Under I’ve added a couple of videos from YouTube you can look at.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRck3ZwI6kE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq_MIbFAxls

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