From Screen to Print: A Case for Monitor Calibration

After spending hours tweaking your photo files in post production to get the perfect colors, the perfect brightness, the perfect contrast, you get your prints in hand... but it seems like all those meticulous adjustments didn't do a thing! Your prints just don't look like your image files.

Many a photographer has fallen victim to print surprises like this. The unassuming culprit? Your uncalibrated computer screen!

All screen displays are different. Sometimes the variation between screens is minimal, but it can also be really extreme! Watch the video below. We scrolled through some monitor display presets to give you a basic overview of how image appearance can change based on screen settings alone.

The thing is, the settings for your screen aren't recorded in the digital file you submit to the lab for printing. If the reds on your monitor are more prominent than they are on the lab's machines, your prints will look cyan. If your brightness setting is significantly higher than the lab's settings, your prints might look dull or lack contrast. If your screen's saturation settings are lower than the lab's, the colors in your prints could look overly-vivid and unnatural.

There's a reason photo labs sell calibration kits (and it's NOT making money). Calibration kits help you precisely adjust your computer monitor settings, making what you see on your screen at home match what is printed at the lab as closely as possible.

How do you calibrate your screen? First, get yourself some monitor calibration hardware (like Spyder or iOne Match), which will give you a great baseline calibration according to your monitor type, viewing conditions, etc. Then, grab a monitor calibration kit from ROES! You'll get a print from the lab along with its digital fileā€”open the file on your computer and make minor adjustments to your monitor settings, matching screen to print. #easypeasy

Psst... If you don't think you need the precision of monitor calibration, but you're still concerned about your final prints, order Lab-Corrected Prints! Our color-saavy crew will adjust your image files for the best overall print results from the lab's machines.

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