Compare Monitor to Physical Prints
So if I just take this print off of here and I walk over into a dark corner, am I'm looking at it like wow, that's really dark and I look over at my monitor, well (pfft) sure it's dark because you're not looking at it in the correct lighting. So I'm gonna come around here. There's two manufacturers, oh we just made the same print that we made before. But just to show you, there's two manufacturers that I know of, there might be more, that make print viewing boxes. And this one is actually tunable to go up or down. I think I turned it off. So this is the correct brightness at full brightness on this print viewing box. And it's a D50 or a 5,000 degree Kelvin daylight balance box which is what these printers and pretty much every photo printer is tuned to. So that when this is the correct way to judge, if your print is bright enough or dark enough. If I turn around the monitor here, and let me actually go back. Well, let me go back to this image. And I'll make it full screen, so it's real...
ly big. And we can look and hopefully they look pretty similar. Because of how it's, it seems a little darker there, but what's going on here is we've got such a bright environment here, it's hard to judge with this much light and with all of these lights pointing straight at this monitor. That. But, in reality, they're pretty close. This monitor may be a little dark but I think that's mostly our environment, not the monitor itself. But, color-wise, I would say that's looking pretty accurate, when I'm looking at this monitor on the back, this looks totally different than what I'm seeing when it's pointing the other direction, Just so you're aware. So we've got massive environment issues. We turn the lights off in here and looked at those two they'd be a lot closer than they appear right now. And the thing is, you know, these are, I think that's like a $400 or $500 light viewing box. You know, so do you need to buy that thing if you're gonna print a lot? It might help. You know, if you're gonna print a lot, I would probably buy a print viewing box. GTI is one of the biggest companies in the world that makes these. The other company from Germany is called Just Normlicht. I have one of Just Normlicht's boxes. It doesn't really matter which brand you get. They're both great. They make giant ones that you would see at a graphic design firm where they put up huge prints to match color or see stuff. If you don't want to spend that much money, like I was saying earlier, you can get a SoLux light bulb that's balanced to D or 5,500 degrees Kelvin whichever one you wanna get and you can put that about 20 inches away from your print. It's not quite of, a clean or easy way to see your print in all it's glory like this is, but it'll at least have a color balance reference and 20 inches away is the magic distance to be the right brightness on your print. If you're gonna make this print for somebody whose hanging the print up in their home, you know, if they're gonna spend $2,000 on a print, I might highly recommend they buy some track lighting and get a few of those bulbs to light up that print. If they're not willing to do that, you know, and they're on the other side of the country, I can't really go over their house and like figure out how, what the color of their lighting is, so I just hope that it's close or I say buy some daylight balance bulbs at the hardware store and they're gonna be better than, you know, whatever bulbs they may have to show that print. At least put some light on it. Don't just let it sit in a dark corner of your house.
One of our students asked, if you do already know that the client is going to be viewing the image in a non-daylight lit area, like an office, or a closed room, do you try and anticipate that and, potentially if they communicate that to you?
Yeah, unless you can physically go there, and you have the $1,500 i1Photo Pro that can measure, or you have a color temperature light meter, it's gonna be very difficult for you to do anything about that. If it's an office environment and they have the giant, long tubes, you know, of lighting in the ceiling, you hope for the best and you see what happens and you find out when you send them to print, if it looks horrible then you can change stuff. You can guesstimate but that gets really dangerous fast, I would say. So there's no good answer to that question necessarily. And this is getting really persnickety with printing. I mean, people who are printing their work that actually know about color temperature and light temperature like this, and actually do something about it, is a very small percentage of photographers or printers really thinking about this. There's other ways of getting around that issue. You can actually buy from SoLux, a clamp that will sit on top of the print, the framed print, and it has an arm that reaches out and has a bulb. So that would probably be my response. It's like go buy this $60 clamp and a $6 bulb, and put that in front of the print so at least you're getting some color balance light on the print to make sure it's being viewed the way it should be viewed. This is a much bigger issue in a museum or a gallery, than it typically is at, you know, an office setting. It also depends on the image. If it's this picture of a wave, nobody really cares if the colors look off. They just assume that's how it looked. If it's a picture of the CEO of the company and the skin tones look purple, that's not gonna fly. So, you may actually just de-saturate the image a little bit to avoid that. That might be another way of doing it but that's a little, you may not be able to de-saturate it enough to actually make any difference. So it depends on the situation but the buying a clamp to sit on the picture would be the easiest option.