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-   -   Is there a reason why my pictures look different on computer (

JimBowen1 Mar 3, 2008 6:44 PM

My daughter, who's the school newspaper report/photographer type was telling me about some new programme she was using for her school newspaper/yearbook photos (you know the ones, the jock being jocks, the chess club winning etcetc) and showed me how it worked on a photo I'd taken.

When we printed it off, it actually looked like a halfway decent photo (what can I say folks, my daughter seems to have an eye for pictures that work it seems)but whenwe e-mailed it to me, it looked a little dark. Given I've had my fill of 'ask your daughter stupid questions for one week,' do pictures look different on your computer? If they do why? Is there any way I can look at a picture and know it looks this way here but it'll look that way there?

TCav Mar 3, 2008 7:43 PM

First, we perceive reflected color (that is, color on a printed page)differently than we do transmitted color (that is, color transmitted from a monitor.) This could account for some of the disparity. But a more likely explanation is that your monitor is off. The good new is that it can be tuned. There are lots of ways to tune it, the most obvoius one might be to adjust the monitor's contrast and brightness so the image on the screen more closely approximates the color on the printed page. But keep in mind that we perceive reflected color differently than transmitted color, so you are not likely to get an exact match. A more complicated an expensive method is to buy and use a monitor calibration device. The simplest method, however, is to use ICC color profiles for your monitor and printer. The manufacturers of your monitor and printer produce these color profiles, and you probably already have them installed. (If you don't you can download them from the manufacturers' web site.) In Windows Operating Systems, you can apply the appropriate ICC color profile for your monitor in the Display control panel and for your printer in the Printer Properties.

tjsnaps Mar 3, 2008 7:46 PM

Every monitor has contrast, brightness settings etc. Therefore an image will look somewhat different on different computers depending on how the user has these adjustments set. Most of us into photography try to adjust our monitor to match the prints we make as closely as possible. This can be done by "eyeballing" it or with a calibration device. (I'm saving my money for this now"

For the web, the only thing you can do is adjust your monitor as best you can and make your pictures look their best to you on your monitor.

tjsnaps Mar 3, 2008 7:47 PM

TCav must type a lot faster than I do

TCav Mar 3, 2008 9:04 PM

tjsnaps wrote:

TCav must type a lot faster than I do
40 minutes/word

granthagen Mar 3, 2008 11:52 PM

As TCav noted, the best way is to get a hardware-based monitor calibrator. This adjusts the monitor so that the black level is not too black or too light, the white level is not too bright or too Grey, the middle Grey is color neutral and the gamma is properly set.

Using the correct ICC profile for the monitor will help, and for free, there are some websites out there that guide you through a manual blackpoint, whitepoint and gamma adjustment. This won't give you results like a hardware calibrator, but unless you are serious about the accuracy of your display, it's better than guess work.

Even if your monitor is properly adjusted and a given image looks as it should on your screen, that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll look the same on someone else's out-of-proper-adjustment monitor! That's life in the big city...


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