If your images appear too dark, too light, or have a weird bluish, yellowish, or reddish cast, your monitor probably needs calibrating. Even if your images look pretty good, it is still a good idea to calibrate.
By calibrating your monitor and creating a characterization, or profile, of your monitor, you ensure that you are getting rid of any color casts and providing as neutral a gray screen as possible. By doing so you are standardizing the display of images — how you view your images today will be the same as how you view them next week.
Calibrating your monitor is the first step in trying to get consistent color from all input (cameras, scanners), and output devices (screen, printer).
You can calibrate your monitor by using any of several methods. If you hunt on the Internet, it seems every digital expert or photographer has his or her preferred method. Photoshop Album ships with a program called Adobe Gamma.
It's a good idea to display an image with known color values while calibrating your monitor. In other words, use an image that you have worked with before and for which you have a good print. Then use that image each and every time you calibrate.
Some experts say you should calibrate your monitor weekly; others say monthly because monitors can drift and even degrade over time.
Using the same image every time you calibrate enables you to more closely match what you see on-screen to match the printed output. For more on getting optimum prints, see Chapter 14.
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