After spending time editing and fine-tuning your stills or videos, you're ready to upload them to your Stocksy portfolio. But how can you be sure that your work appears on other people's screens the way you intended? The answer is screen calibration.
Screen calibration sets your monitor's brightness, contrast, and color to an accepted standard, so there is consistency in how your work appears on any other device or screen. It is also important when printing your images, although this is not something we'll discuss in this article.
If you don't calibrate your screen, there's a good chance that you will naturally overcompensate for this in your post-processing workflow. For example, if your screen is set too bright, you might edit your work in a way that - when viewed on other screens - appears too dark. Or, if your screen has a cool tint, you might produce an image that appears too warm when viewed on different screens.
How to calibrate your screen
The simplest way to calibrate your screen is to purchase a screen calibrator and let it do the work for you. The most common and trusted screen calibration tool is the X-Rite Display Pro. With this device, you install the software, place the calibrator on your screen and let the software run.
Manufacturers recommend calibrating your screen about once a month as the monitor's brightness, contrast, and color can shift as it ages--especially important for older or entry-level monitors.
If you're not ready to invest in a hardware calibrator, both Windows and Mac have basic screen calibration software built-in, which is an excellent place to start. However, these applications rely on you to make adjustments according to what your eyes see, which leaves plenty of room for error.
Your Editing Space
The light and color of your editing workspace can also affect how you view and color-correct your work. Experts recommend that you do not work in an overly bright or too dark room and that your walls are as close to white or a neutral grey as possible. If possible, your lighting--including any light behind your display--should be as close to 6500k (neutral white).
What monitor should I use?
Choosing a monitor for editing can be difficult as there are so many to choose from with different price tags and a wide range of complicated monitor technologies. Fortunately, you don't need the most expensive monitor to achieve great results.
Without going into too much detail, experts recommend choosing a monitor with an IPS or liquid crystal display panel as these are the most color accurate. Ideally, it would be best to have a monitor that can display the sRGB color space as this is the industry standard for most online and print use. A decent-sized high-resolution monitor lets you see your images or video at their full size and in greater detail. For most, a 27-inch display with 4K resolution will be sufficient for stock photography and video work.
Your monitor will most likely be factory set to a white point of 6500k or D65 and gamma 2.2, while for video software should be set at gamma 2.4. We recommend that you keep these settings.
If you're wondering what's the best monitor available to suit your budget, we suggest posting in the Stocksy Forum where you're sure to get some useful feedback from your fellow contributors.