Screen calibration

What you see is what you get.

Well, not always and we may see it differently.

Your screen's controls for colour balance, luminance and contrast may be way off leading to images that may look all right to you on your screen in your office or home but render quite differently elsewhere and not like what you really intended for your audience.

Colour control and management across devices is almost a science.

Obviously, the graphic industry and graphic designers need to ensure that colour consistently renders exactly the same through all stages of production and until the final output, be it a print publication or presentation on a screen.

On X-Ray Mag we also colour correct to ensure that the magazine appears even.

Taking out our guesswork

Quite frequently we receive images that appear with a colour balance or other properties that are quite visibly off in one way or another.

Sometimes it is obvious what the issue is, and how to fix it. Other times, however, it can be hard to tell whether it was an intended creative choice.

You can help reduce the amount of educated guesswork we have to contend with by making sure your screen is properly - or just decently - colour calibrated.

How do you do it?

On the most basic level all operating systems - Windows, Mac OS,... - come with built-in screen/monitor calibration applications. Sometimes they are provide with the screen/monitor, i.e. on the CD with software - or it can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

Next level up, there are screen/monitor calibrators where you stick a little sensor with suction cups to your screen/monitor. This little gizmo has some photo sensors which reads the output of patters run by the software to produce a colour profile for your screen/monitor. This colour profile then adjusts the output of your screen/monitor to how it should look like.

Some of the cheaper consumer versions may only cost about $100 but note they may not be able to properly handle hi-end monitors with a wide colour gamut. This monitors more or less reproduce the Adobe RGB 98 gamut, which is significantly larger than the conventional sRGB. (renders far more colours).

The calibrator device shown on the image above is The X-Rite i1Display Pro model which has become a bit of a reference device today. It allows to calibrate monitors and laptops screen. Price about $250.

Additional reading (post on

Calibration: What It Is, Why You Should Do It, and How It's Done

Screenshot from Fstoppers


Why is my print dark? Why are the colors off?
I believe we all found ourselves asking these questions inside our head (or worse, yelling at our photo printer!) during our first steps into our journey in photography. Monitor calibration is the solution, bad settings and bad color reproduction by the monitor are the culprit. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite energy drink and read on, I'll tell you everything about it, what you have to do, what you gain, how it's done, and what you need to correctly calibrate your monitors.

Read full article on Fstoppers