Become the Expert – Calibration: Monitor versus Printer

Calibration: Monitor versus Printer

Photographic Printing

IMG_20130826_151029Why is working on a calibrated monitor so important?

Two reasons:  1) So that you get an accurate preview of the image on your monitor.  2) So that this image preview will match the printed version.  A common misconception when it comes to calibration is that as long as you calibrate your monitor, your prints should match no matter which lab you use.  Not every lab calibrates to the same numbers and the types of printers used also vary.  It is important to calibrate your monitor to the same calibration specifications that your lab is printing.

“My monitor is calibrated but my prints don’t match!”

Some calibration devices can be run on basic or auto mode and then you will be given a message that says, “Congratulations, you are calibrated.”  But calibrated to what?  What’s the gamma set to?  The color temperature?  This result will, more often than not, give you a close match but not spot on.  There are also internal calibration tools that come with Mac and PC but these too are not 100% because your computer doesn’t know printing specifications, nor will any automatic device.  To take complete control over color management you will need a calibration device that allows you to enter specific numbers for the gamma, color temperature, and luminance.  You will also need the calibration specifications from your lab so that your device can match them.

Tips & Recommendations

Xrite devices are dependable and they meet most price ranges.  ProDPI’s calibration specifications are listed on page 6 of our price guide located here.  Keep to neutral colors in and around your editing workspace.  Always edit/view your images and prints in a well lit room. Simulated daylight bulbs and natural window light are both ideal.  Re-calibrate your monitor at least every couple of weeks for consistent color.  Click here for instructions on ordering free calibration test prints from ProDPI!

ProDPI’s printers are re-calibrated multiple times during production hours to insure the utmost color accuracy.  It’s nice to know what to expect; match your monitor to your lab and your prints should match.

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