Merrill Photography > Monitor Calibration

(used with permission from John Brownlow)

Calibrating your monitor to view the photographs correctly
The internet is tough for photographers. We never know how our pictures are going to look on somebody else's computer system. The pictures on this site look great on my computer, but how do I know how your monitor is set up? Maybe they will look really dark, or really light, on your system. We just never know.

That's why I included this test strip, which allows you to set up your monitor so that it's displaying colors correctly.

The strip shows a range of grays from pure black to pure white. You should be able to see a clear distinction between every shade of grey, with pure black on the left and a clean white on the right.

On top of the strip are alternating squares of black and dark grey. If this strip looks pure black to you, the brightness setting on your monitor is too low. Turn it up until you can just see the difference between the black and the gray squares.

Other tips

In general, the contrast setting of your monitor should be turned to maximum.

Your monitor should be set to display "millions of colors".

If your browser allows you to use ColorSync, turn this option on.

Reduce the ambient light to a minimum (draw the shades, and turn off the light).

How the grayscale displays on a correctly set-up monitor.
Too bright! The light greys are all white, and there is no pure black.
Too dark! The dark greys are all black, there is no pure white, and the alternating squares of black and grey on the top row are invisible.

The above images and text 1987-2002 John Brownlow. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or use strictly prohibited. Reproduced here by permission. Take a gander at pinkheadedbug.com, John's website, for some outstanding photography.

Copyright © 2008 Eric Merrill. All rights reserved.