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Monitor Calibration

Standard Color Recipe

When you photograph the red below . . .

Real Life

. . . you want the same red everywhere else.






Devices, such as cameras, monitors, and printers—and software, like Photoshop Elements—use the same standard color "recipe."

By using the standard color recipe, the above red looks the same everywhere else.

Overtime, your monitor drifts away from the standard color recipe, as seen below.

Real Life






The above red, and all of the other colors on your monitor, are off.

The colors no longer match the standard color recipe.

But, the everything else is still using the standard color recipe.

When you send files to be printed, the prints may be disappointing.

You may blame the lab.

But, the lab is using the standard color recipe.

You're the one using the wrong color recipe.

You have to calibrate your monitor.

Monitor Calibration

When you calibrate your monitor, you're matching the monitor's color and contrast to the standard color recipe.

Your calibrated monitor now matches the printer at the lab.

When you carefully adjust the color of a photograph, the lab will make a print with the same color as what you see on your monitor.


A colorimeter is used to measure the color of your monitor.

The colorimeter software then compares the monitor's color to the standard color recipe.

If the monitor color is off, the monitor color is adjusted to match the standard color recipe.

Have a look at the colorimeters below.


• Easy to use.

• Reasonably priced.

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If You Have a $500+ Printer

The X-Rite ColorMunki Photo will profile your printer as well as your monitor.



If you wish, you can check your calibrated monitor with these two test pages from Dry Creek Photo.

Monitor Grayscale Test

Monitor Black Point Check


Color Management

huey Calibration Targets

Gamma Explained