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The secret to my quick portrait edits is that I'm directly linked to my Spyder3Studio SR. I hate to admit it, but color calibration was last on my work-flow priority list. With a very tight schedule, I found it a pain to go through the lengthy steps that most calibration systems require.
However, I started to grow frustrated when my print master told me my “colors” were off. “ I went by the numbers,” I’d tell her. “How could they be wrong?”
I knew I had to correct this situiation, so I purchased the Spyder3Studio SR, which came with a monitor and printer calibrator. I immediately color-balanced all of the monitors and printers in my studio. One of the most important things I learned in the process was to turn the brightness down on my Apple Cinema Screen. Apparently my print master’s PC monitor and mine had varied brightness, and this was a major factor in creating our mismatched pictures.
My dual monitors were nearly identical and spot on, but I still had no accurate way of color-balancing my photos. Sure, I used a grey card. However, I found that it was fading, one dimensional and scratched. By sampling the faded area, my whole picture was thrown off. I turned to the Cube, which also came with the Spyder3Studio. Here's how it worked, as seen in the photo below: By placing the Cube in my first portrait frame, I could color-balance from the 18% gray patch, adjust my highlights from the silver ball, and find my absolute blacks using the hole in the Cube (it's there, in the photo), all within Adobe Lightroom 2. With a few clicks of the mouse, my editing was finished.
From camera to printer, my work flow time was cut in half! I am now devoted to routine monitor calibrations and religiously use my Cube.
Having a properly calibrated monitor renders consistency from camera to output, from rich blacks to dazzling creamy highlights.