When To Calibrate Your Monitor/Printer/Camera/Trousers

Aged paperColour management is the hot potato of the moment in the world of photography. It is also a pretty hot topic in Baltimore, but I am not going down that road…

For those of the readers who have never calibrated or corrected their computer or laptop in all the time they have owned it we have simple advice: turn the saturation control on your computer down to 0 and leave it there. You now have the look of the “I Love Lucy” show in 1952 and if you play your artistic cards right you will not have a lot of esplainin’ to do…

Those of you who are so perverse as to prefer colour in the image may wish to go further. Before you pursue the business of colour management you have to decide whether you want to be so confused as to burst into tears or so angry at the complexity of it all that you go out and buy an iMac and be done with it. I adopted the latter course of action and have never regretted it.

Others may wish to buy EIZO, Dell, and other screens and connect them to their computers. They will be advised to calibrate the screens using a simple set of 678 commands and then to repeat it every week. Some of the programs and calibrators will demand special conditions; darkened rooms, grey walls, constant temperatures, pentangles and candles on the floor, etc. When you extend your ambitions to the matching of the printer with the computer there will need to be blood – a lot of it – and you may wish to look around and plan where you can get it from.

Be aware that no two calibrations will actually be done by the same procedure. The companies who make the equipment change their minds about what to do on a weekly basis and by the time you decide you want to remove the violet rime from the edge of all the faces ( Careful – Johnny Depp actually has a purple edge as a natural feature…) the formulae will have changed and you will have to seek new algorithms from the internet. After 6 months you will either be a competent computer user or a homicidal maniac.

Fer me…well I use an old iMac and a Spyder Express calibrator once every two months. 5 minutes and it is done. The Epson printer seems to think that the commands from the iMac are good enough for jazz and I agree; the prints seen in clear sunlight are quite lovely. I am satisfied with lovely.

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