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I got to thinking about my photographs as seen by others online, indeed all my images be them photographs or designs. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen in forums I hang out in someone saying about a posted image “it’s too dark” or “the highlights are blown out”.

So I got to thinking about what my favorite fine art magazine LensWork does. I am a subscriber to their extended edition on CD and one of the things included is a calibration chart to help ensure you have your monitor set correctly to view the images. And believe me the work in the magazine is stunning, and I would imagine the photographers would be horrified if they could see what they look like on some of the poorly set up screens out there.

Beyond that, consider any photographer out there earning a living from their craft, a visitor goes to their online wedding portfolio site and looks at the images. But the images look dreadful due to the monitor being set wrong. End result is they go to someone else based on the incorrect display in front of them, now it is not the photographer’s fault. But then maybe it is in a way, if it had a ‘how to view these images correctly’ tip it could bring work that would be lost and at the same time educate the viewer and improve their experience from that point forward.

My question is a simple one then, do we think it is time to start including a very simple grayscale chart on the frames of our images so the viewer can at least try and see the work the way the creator intended?



  1. You make a good point. In fact, I’m on my wife’s computer (meaning: not on my studio computer) and her highs are blown out, and the lows are all black. Check this link for a typical bar grayscale diagram.

    The “33 levels” version is fairly common on some sites. I may start dropping it into my posts as well…

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for that link, I like the charts. ’33 levels’ would be perfect. If only someone would invent self correcting screens so we don’t have to worry about these things.

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