Art and Photography

Post processing, printer profiles, calibration

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  • Feb 21st, 2021 5:52 pm
Jr. Member
Oct 28, 2017
150 posts

Post processing, printer profiles, calibration

I don't fully understand the concept for post-processing with specific photo lab printer profiles and monitor calibration. Info is quite piece-meal to me. Can someone add some advice to help me understand this need?

- If I calibrate my monitor with a colorimeter, then my monitor would be displaying accurate colors, at its best ability, to my eyes in my post-process environment. This minimizes variance from the monitor displaying true real colors to my eyes. Sounds simple to understand.

- Do I still need to I load a selected photo lab printer profile in LightRoom or PS before I process? I guess this minimizes variance between how my monitor displaying true real colors to my eyes and how the lab's printer going to print the true colors?

- How about if I process my photos using my calibrated monitor for my website? We are still not sure if my site is going to look as good as it is to other people's uncalibrated monitor. Does this make it a moot point to calibrate my screen if I don't print my work?
2 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 5, 2010
1515 posts
There's not much you can do for how the photos will look on people's monitors. With different apps (for instance, check Chrome vs Firefox, one has way more saturation than the other) and adaptive screen i.e. iPhone's day/night function, your photos will be all over the place as the colours go.

For monitor, you're correct. A colorimeter will use its software and the device to create a ICC profile matching your monitor. In theory, you should have a closer to the actual colours.

You should apply the printer profile only when you'll be sending your photos to print. No point in doing it in advance. Even applied on jpegs, the edit won't be too dramatic to mess with your photos. What I meant is jpeg compress your photos, but printer profile is mostly colour calibration, like i.e. a bit more cyan, less yellow, more magenta, less black. Not drastic enough to need the use of RAW. Even then, what paper is used will affect the final result too.

TL:DR - Online, there's not much you can do. For print, use the profile, but for serious work, print a proof and adjust after from it.
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2006
4910 posts
Paper and ink profiles will really take you down the rabbit hole. Get your monitor ICC profiles done properly and editing software configured correctly to use them.

if you're serious about presenting the best quality image, then - YES - you should calibrate your monitor to a standard. It will improve your images for both web display and for printing. You are not wasting your time. Don't worry about what other people will see on their junk screens. Worry about how it will look to the people that are knowledgeable about how an image should look. You don't want to be the guy that edits 1000's of images and then 5 or 6 years later gets a new high quality monitor and discovers all his edits have a tint to them or blown out areas.

Understand the difference between a standard "sRGB gamut" (which most web sites still use for image display) and "wide gamut" and what happens when people view a wide gamut image on a sRGB screen using software that is not colour gamut aware. When editing, ensure to embed the colour profile into the image. Fortunately most browsers today are colour profile aware. It was not like that even 5 years ago. ... ement.html

I think for most people that, after getting their monitor set to a colour standard using a calibrator, the next biggest challenge is getting the monitor brightness at the right level for the room they edit in. Edit in a light controlled room. If your monitor is too bright for the room you edit in, your eyes will be fooled into lowering the brightness of the image and then prints will come out dark. Similar can happen if the monitor is too dark and then the edited images will be too light when printed.



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