Having a color management strategy or system comes down to this piece, having and generating consistent color throughout your digital photography system. You want to have the image seen match the final print or image posted to your photography blog. Without the benefit of having a constant of some sort (I often use a 35mm slide as my color comparison constant), you must have some sort of color management in your system to make sure that the image you just imported from your memory card looks correct on your computer monitor. Also the resulting image on your display needs to match the final output from your photographic printer.
Whenever you power up your computer monitor, whether your monitor is an LCD (liquid crystal display), a CRT (cathode ray tube) or is part of your laptop, you should be in the habit of recalibrating your computer display at least once every 30 days. While your operating system has built-in software, such as Apple’s ColorSync Software, you definitely need a USB dedicated display-measuring device to correctly calculate your unique monitor profile. Every single monitor is slightly different and by measuring your monitor specifically, you can take ambient room lighting and other lighting factors into consideration.
The longer monitors are turned on, the more that their colors ‘leak.’ This is not only true of your computer monitors, but it is also true of your television, LCD projectors and even your digital cameras. For example, over time the navy blue you are used to seeing may change slightly to a lighter navy blue and this will affect how you see the images on your screen. And, more importantly, this is why you might print something that looks different from what you see on your monitor.
Once you create a custom monitor profile called an ICC profile, it will allow more of your devices to communicate with each other and allow you to generate more of a color constant from image capture to the final print. Your goal is to have ICC profiles for all of your display devices, your digital cameras and certainly your photographic printers.
All of the top three Best of the Best products are from Pantone, the same company that started out with its infamous Pantone color wheel for correct color matching. They have teamed with GretagMacbeth to provide for proper display device calibration. The absolute Best of the Best product, the Pantone GretagMacbeth Eye-One XT can measure spot colors for the exact color needed for RGB, CYMK displays, or for ANY device. This product is intended for the photography professional or independent color lab. When you want the assurance of having the same image color from capture to print, you will definitely need a reliable monitor calibration system or device.