How important it is to calibrate your monitor

Hello there,

After seeing 31 of my files under the Rejected Files list, I've learned something really important.

These are the common reasons for my pictures being rejected:

Poor color: this image has a low color profile and needs improvement in order to increase its sales potential. You can process your image with color enhancement software, such as Photoshop, giving it the appeal it needs.

Poor lighting setup, poor contrast or incorrect exposure

First of all, I was using Picasa to quickly edit my files, enhancing contrast, warming up colors and the like. Ok, maybe this is not the best software I could use but the important point, I think -correct me if I'm wrong- is monitor calibration.

I don't know how it works in other countries, but here in Spain there is a myth: only Mac computers can display colors as you see them on paper. Be it true or not, the truth is that Mac is able to set up a ICC color profile at system level. And OS X, for example, has a built-in Display Calibrator Assistant, which is very helpful.

So what's left to Windows users? I'm going to try Adobe Gamma, which comes with Photoshop, but maybe there are much better options. Also, I use a LCD display, for which there is also another myth: "colors are more likely to look fainter on LCD's".

Anyhow, if your pictures are rejected because of contrast/lighting/color issues, you might want to check your monitor. I thought my photos were alright after processing them, but in other people's -decent- monitors they probably didn't looked that good ;)

Another lesson to learn and I thank DT for it.

This is a picture I wasn't sure it'd be accepted. It was difficult to adjust contrast and lighting to enhance colors and remove that redish fog you get on most night pictures.

Another difficult picture. Candles where there, I didn't have my tripod and I tried my best... and here they are ;)

Keep it up, people.

Photo credits: Luis Serrano.

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Find an image (and purchase the DL) that you KNOW is a great representation of the color you want for skin, landscapes, skies, whatever.. then use this as your tool to 'calibrate' your eyes. It has helped me alot without purchasing the equipment. If you don't trust what your eyes are seeing then this method works great!


You are probably right but that is too technical, I'd rather trust my eye and my criteria. Levels and curves are probably a reliable quality proof, but personally, as a plus, every photographer has an artistic sense that can't just be ignored in spite of anything. That's why I'd like to be able to see what I am going to print with my own eyes, so my brain can work on it :P Thank you! Cheers.


thank you!
I don't mind so much how the photos display on the screen.I perfer to see the curves and levels in photoshop.Am I right?


Thank you Charles! The images I sent were much less dark than the image of this article (curves demonstration), and they were rejected. I have calibrated my monitor and I'll try resubmitting them when I have the time ;) Cheers!


Luis, I remember you mentioned the challenges of getting correct color. I just found this article on color correction. It's by Scott Kelby, who's somewhat of a celebrity in the Photoshop world. Looks pretty useful to me.


Great photos! I've just realised the importance of calibrating the monitor as I use two different computers and just realised that many I upload from my laptop are rejected because of bad saturation etc but I don't really have as bad problem when using my desktop computer: reason my laptop monitor calibration is rubbish! Must find a way to sort it out :)


keep creating, you have a great portfolio!


Charles, I've seen your pictures, and your equipment is nothing compared with your style ;)


Luis, I might have nice equipment, but you have the golden eye. Gadgets come and go, but talent endures.


Definitely Mac OS X color management is far superior to that on Windows. I had a windows machine and my numerous attempts to build a consistent color from scanner to monitor to printer failed. When I switched to Mac, I also purchased ColorVision Spyder3Studio that includes software and hardware to calibrate monitor and printer and I can say it was one of the best investments I ever made!


Charlesoutcalt, so your desk is what I see in my dreams, isn't it! Mac+2 monitors, 30 and 23... whoa! I am just a web developer so my desk is less impressive and more.. let's say... just "functional", hehe. But I am planning to buy a Mac, I won't ever be a decent photograph without having decent tools to work with. I'm going to give a deep look to your portfolio right now :)


Here's my experience: I'm using a Mac with dual monitors (a 30 and a 23). Even though I have calibrated both of them with the same tool (a huey pro), my photos look markedly different if I move them from one screen to the other.

On the 30, the colors pop, on the 23 everything looks washed out. I use the 30 for most editing, but I'm always concerned that designers (and editors) will see something closer to what I have on my 23.

BTW, I really like the candle photo. Takes me back to being a kid--although the candles were that well composed and beautiful in my church.


Thank you Seesea!
Fallsview, I'll check it out, cheers!


Wonderful fireworks!


Hmm, it's a common problem but you can always find some monitor calibration softwares to do the job, for example sth like spyder pro...

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