Adjusting Your Monitor

Display Your Pictures in Their Best Light


Maximize the enjoyment of your pictures – optimize your computer monitor settings.

Computer monitor screen calibration bars for best looking photos and images
Click here for full screen calibration bars

Calibrate Contrast and Brightness

This ensures your images are not displayed too dark or washed out.

  • Turn Contrast to maximum
  • Adjust Brightness until all 20 shades are clearly distinct

Note that the human eye is less sensitive to differences in the dark areas, so it is normal to see less contrast between the two left-most bars than the two right-most bars. Advanced adjustments, which vary the gamma of a monitor, can help in this regard (see more below).

Optimize Screen Refresh for CRT Monitors

This minimizes screen flicker which can be very distracting and produces eye strain. Instructions below are for Windows® XP. This adjustment is not needed for LCD monitors.

  • Go to Windows Control Panel and click Display to show Display Properties
  • Click Settings tab
  • Click Advanced button
  • Click Monitor tab
  • Select a Screen Refresh rate of 80Hz or higher

Advanced Monitor Calibration and Gamma Control

You can make more advanced adjustments if you have any of several Adobe® applications on your computer (such as any of the Adobe Photoshop® products). These applications install the Adobe Gamma utility, accessible in the Control Panel (displayed in "classic view"). When you adjust the gamma, you adjust the brightness of 50% grey, without modifying the black or white points. This enables you to shift mid-grey to a brighter level, so you can see more detail in the shadow areas. The result effectively equalizes the perceived contrast in the chart above, so the left-most two bars seem to have similar contrast as the right-most two bars.

Read more about Using Adobe Gamma on Windows.

Additional Resources

More on how to properly calibrate your monitor at: (on Catching the Light website) (on w4zt website)
Color management terminology (on Adobe Support Knowledgebase website)

"Adobe" and "Photoshop" are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated "Windows" is a registered trademark of Microsoft, Corp.


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