Editing photos with an uncalibrated monitor

double_entendredouble_entendre Gene pool chlorinatorPosts: 113Registered Users Major grins

I have a very old HP Envy 3D laptop that I use for my photo editing. While I'd like to upgrade, for the moment it's on the horizon. Close but no cigar, as it were.

The question is, if I'm going to print photos--I think I'm getting close enough to a semblance of competency to want to print some, even if just for my own enjoyment--any thoughts on a good solution until I can upgrade my monitor and invest in a colorimeter?

Thanks, as always.

Comments

  • ShinryaShinrya Peter Stewart Hong KongPosts: 113Registered Users Major grins

    I did a quick Google search and it seems the TN panel on that model is quite highly praised (and comparable to the Macbook Pro screen of that time). So at a guess you should be 90% there.
    A quick and dirty way to compare could be to view your images on any other devices you have to see the difference in colors and brightness. So phones, tablets, TV....just to give you an idea of how things vary against the laptop screen. If you have an old CRT monitor laying around that might be even better! Just try and get it set correctly to Gamma 2.2 and 6500k.

    • If you're a Photoshop user, a little trick I use to get almost spot on white balance is to goto "Image> Adjustments> Match Color" then tick "Neutralize" and press OK. This typically reduces any warm or cold cast to an image. You may want to reduce the opacity to around 50% though incase it goes too far in changing the colors.
    • Further to that, in "Image> Adjustments> Levels", check that brightness levels are good by raising the far right slider under "Input Levels" if necessary (and perhaps midtones). As we're all editing and viewing our images on bright backlit screens, it's easy to forget that this doesn't always transfer over to paper correctly, so a dark moody image with purposefully minimal shadow detail on your monitor ends up just being black when printed.

    • Lastly, trial and error test prints. Perhaps order a cheap batch of 4x6 prints from your lab of any particular images you know you want to re-produce later on. I do this often with images I know I'm going to be selling. I pretty much disregard the color calibration of my screen, and order a bunch of 4x6 testers of one image. I'll get one with the edit as I created on the computer, another with a colder white balance, another with a warmer white balance, and finally one with Midtones raised about 1/3rd of a stop. Whichever looks better on paper is the one I use for larger prints.

    Best of luck dude, wrapping your head around color management and prepping for print is something I still don't fully understand. Just so many variables to it, but I find if can get close and run a few cheap test prints then it's worth it in the long run and you can make your own system to work around it.

  • double_entendredouble_entendre Gene pool chlorinator Posts: 113Registered Users Major grins

    @Shinrya said:
    I did a quick Google search and it seems the TN panel on that model is quite highly praised (and comparable to the Macbook Pro screen of that time). So at a guess you should be 90% there.
    A quick and dirty way to compare could be to view your images on any other devices you have to see the difference in colors and brightness. So phones, tablets, TV....just to give you an idea of how things vary against the laptop screen. If you have an old CRT monitor laying around that might be even better! Just try and get it set correctly to Gamma 2.2 and 6500k.

    • If you're a Photoshop user, a little trick I use to get almost spot on white balance is to goto "Image> Adjustments> Match Color" then tick "Neutralize" and press OK. This typically reduces any warm or cold cast to an image. You may want to reduce the opacity to around 50% though incase it goes too far in changing the colors.
    • Further to that, in "Image> Adjustments> Levels", check that brightness levels are good by raising the far right slider under "Input Levels" if necessary (and perhaps midtones). As we're all editing and viewing our images on bright backlit screens, it's easy to forget that this doesn't always transfer over to paper correctly, so a dark moody image with purposefully minimal shadow detail on your monitor ends up just being black when printed.

    • Lastly, trial and error test prints. Perhaps order a cheap batch of 4x6 prints from your lab of any particular images you know you want to re-produce later on. I do this often with images I know I'm going to be selling. I pretty much disregard the color calibration of my screen, and order a bunch of 4x6 testers of one image. I'll get one with the edit as I created on the computer, another with a colder white balance, another with a warmer white balance, and finally one with Midtones raised about 1/3rd of a stop. Whichever looks better on paper is the one I use for larger prints.

    Best of luck dude, wrapping your head around color management and prepping for print is something I still don't fully understand. Just so many variables to it, but I find if can get close and run a few cheap test prints then it's worth it in the long run and you can make your own system to work around it.

    Awesome. Thank you very much for the thoughts.

  • colourboxcolourbox Major grins Posts: 2,064Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 2, 2018

    You can also keep a reference image file handy, like one of those test charts that has a gray step scale and representative skin tones. We know that image is corrected, so if you open it along with one of your images as side by side windows in Photoshop, or using Reference mode in Lightroom for instance, you will have a reference for what balanced is. And using the step wedge, you can see if your monitor is representing every gray shade properly or if it is plugging shadows or blowing out highlights. Even if you do not yet have a calibrator, a test image can at least give you an idea of how far off your monitor is. Maybe you find out that while it might not be perfect, maybe it's not too far off from a good average monitor.

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