Tutorial Video: How Photographers Can Calibrate Their Computer Display

Photographers need to be able to not only shoot great photos, but also export great images. And there are lots of tutorials on how to edit your photos to look a given way but not a whole lot on how to do something fundamental to the process: screen calibration. Let’s think about this: my office setup and the lighting there is most likely far different from what you have in your office, where you’re probably reading this from, or on your mobile device. So it isn’t the same viewing experience. If you’ve ever used photographic reflectors, your viewing experience of a screen is very much like using different sides of a reflector–soft gold does one thing, white does another, etc. Photographers need to be able to give their viewers the same viewing experience they have.

In order to do that, please check out this video below on just how you calibrate your display from our recent Facebook Live session.

Editor’s Note: The is a sponsored blog post from Datacolor. All information presented here is perfectly accurate and put together by Editor in Chief Chris Gampat. Own a calibrator? Upgrade to Spyder5ELITE+ from ANY brand! Click this link to see more.

I’m obviously using a DataColor Spyder5Elite in the video and their workflow has always been the simplest to me. Calibrating your display, while the idea may be intimidating, isn’t honestly difficult to do. Beyond just installing software, the on-screen program leads you through the entire process. We’ve got a slightly more in-depth guide on calibrating your monitor right here, but let me walk you through actually doing it.

Always Let Your Display Warm Up

This is a big one. You wouldn’t drive a car without warming it up and you wouldn’t run a marathon without warming up. So because your display is about to go through some rigorous testing, you should let it warm up. Just like the doctor recommends for your own body, let the screen warm up for around 30 minutes. Use it. Don’t let it go to sleep.

For a Full Recalibration, Choose Your Display’s Standard Calibration Settings

If you’re on an Apple device, you can choose the display calibration by going to System Preferences > Display > Color. Then from there you can choose a big selection. When you go to print a photo, you can send that profile to the printer. The larger the area of the Adobe RGB gamut that your display covers, the more your printer will be able to match the display.

For a ReCalibration, Use the Same Settings You Were Working With

Recalibration can be thought of more as a checkup rather than a whole diagnostic. These typically don’t take that long at all.

Laptops: Calibrate Everywhere You Go If Editing

If you’re editing images on a laptop and you’re constantly on the move, I’d calibrate based on wherever you’re going. An airplane window seat has a much different viewing experience than being in your office or living room. Your eye is always looking for a central white point.