I have always noticed that different monitors seem to have different settings when it comes to images looking too dark or too light but yesterday I was shocked when I saw my new images that I had put on my website and zapp on a different computer than the one I had "created" them on.  I tweaked the exposure and contrast to exactly what looked great on my office computer but now on my home computer they look terribly dark.  Now I realize a lot of images (from other websites) generally look dark on this home computer.

So my question is which computer should I use or how do I adjust settings so I know my settings match the equipment or computers that images will be juried on.

I'm going to attach two images to show the difference I am seeing.  #1 is tweaked to look good on my "dark" home computer monitor and then #2 is tweaked to look good on my lighter office computer monitor which by the way is newer and a flat screen.

Any help is appreciated - this has been a worry of mine for years.



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  • It's worth it to purchase a monitor calibration program. There are several available that don't cost too much (+-$50) and are easy to use that will go a long way to making sure what you see on your screen is at least pretty close to what jurors will see. For internet, Zapp, etc always save you images in sRGB color space  with embedded ICC profile.  Unfortunately in these days of digital there's no way to be absolutely sure that jurors see your images exactly the same as you've created them so all you can really do is use a calibrated monitor yourself and save the images correctly before you send them.


    As a photographer who obviously relies on my images presenting exactly the same as I've created them (colors, contrast, tones, etc) this can be very frustrating since I can never be sure that jurors or potential customers browsing my website are seeing each image as it is intended to be seen.

  • You need to calibrate to see them relatively accurately. Short of purchasing a calibration device with software, you can set the color temperature to 6500 Kelvin or D65 (and the Gamma to 2.2), which is the default setting for the sRGB color space and viewing images on a monitor.

    If your images aren't in the sRGB color space with an embedded color space tag, they won't display accurately on a monitor. Depending on whether you have a MAC or PC will result in different color if your images aren't tagged. MAC browsers in trying to be more accurate, display non tagged images incorrectly because they don't now how to handle the lack of color space tag. On the other hand, PC browsers treat non color space tagged images as though they are sRGB. Therefore though many artists don't want to hear it, MACs shouldn't be used for jurying. This can be demonstrated when uploading images to Juried Art Services from a MAC because the uploaded image appears to have different color on a MAC but looks the same on a PC. Juried Art Services strips out the color space tag when the thumbnails are generated. On the other hand, the thumbnail generation on ZAPP retains the color space tag so the images after upload look the same as they did on the users computer prior to upload.

    Larry Berman

    • Okay this is new to me.  I use photoshop and until now I have never heard of sRGB but now I see that it shows up when I "save for the web" and there is a place to click it and a place to click "Embed Color Profile". 

      I also see that there is a place to click "ICC profile: sRGB" when I just save it regularly.  Which do you recommend for Zapp?

      I'm just amazed I never knew about sRGB after 10 years of working with digital images!  Of course I'm self taught so that's probably why.

      Thanks for your help.

      • Give me a call and I'll walk you through what your default settings in Photoshop should be. It's too complicated for posting on a forum.

        Larry Berman
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