What to do as I can’t calibrate a laptop monitor?

I sent a photo to someone the other day and they had recourse to send it back to me querying whether I’d sent them the right file. It looked OK on my laptop but when I viewed it on the  tablet… What a difference! So, of course, this set me thinking about how photos show up online from other devices… I can see them from my laptop and my ipad… But, what do other viewers see?

As I can’t calibrate the laptop monitor, I had a little hunt around Google and discovered a little app called ‘Dual Display’ which links the ipad as a second monitor, I’ve had a little experiment and, if anyone could give me feedback on what you are seeing (colour and tone and not composition etc) in the three versions of the same photo – out of camera, edited for laptop and edited for ipad – I’d be mighty grateful:

Straight out of camera

Out of camera
Out of camera

Edited for laptop

Edited for laptop
Edited for laptop

Edited for ipad

Edited for ipad
Edited for ipad

straight out of camera

Out of camera
Out of camera

Edited for laptop

Edited for laptop
Edited for laptop

Edited for ipad

Edited for ipad
Edited for ipad
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21 thoughts on “What to do as I can’t calibrate a laptop monitor?

  1. I have this problem too! Such a concern, especially when printing my favorites. To me, the images edited for the tablet are richer in their tones. The laptop images are heavy on brightness and from what I see feel washed out…almost. Love your work and enjoy seeing your progression! You live in a wonderful place.

      1. Oh sure, I was viewing them originally on a laptop. I am writing the reply from my pc and they look different than on my laptop. The laptop options are still a bit bright/washed out where you probably aren’t intending on it. I can see more detail in the sky with a beautiful sunlight ray or two trying to peek through the clouds. My eye is more drawn to the IPad edit though of the first. The second image, the laptop is quite similar to the original with a little variance but not much and the IPad version has a bluish hue to the leaves but the flower is nicely colored.
        Calibration is a bear! I have heard if you are serious about editing to stay clear of a laptop for the most part, it won’t be the same angle you are editing from very easily. And, calibration software is essential for desktop editing as well. I am soon to buy one (it has monkey in the name…sorry I don’t remember it!) it is about $100. If you are going to print any of your images you will really see the issue. It is disappointing to work so hard on an image and feel good about it only to have it printed too dark/light/off color :/ such a bummer.
        Good luck!

      2. Thanks, Carrie. Not sure I can stretch to a PC at the moment but I’m beginning to understand where I should be aiming for between the two screens. Good luck with your monkey.

  2. I think it’s quite tricky to properly calibrate a laptop monitor and even harder, if it doesn’t has this option, but the dual monitor app might be a good workaround. What your pictures look like for me on my laptops full brightness:

    1. image:
    – out of camera: the overall tone is colder, the sky is bright and blue-ish from top to button, with a strong and darker green, grey stones and a beige to white cliff wall. Overall it looks the most natural.
    – edited for laptop: its overall tone is very orange with the sky looking a bit orange-dirty. I think that especially the cliff wall and the sky are too orange and the stones lost its greyness. The green is just brighter though.
    – edited for iPad: the sky has a darker to bright purple tone, the cliff wall has now a darker orange, the stones look grey-ish with a slight purple layer, though I think it’s well balanced. The green is brighter than in the original.

    2. image:
    – the out of camera and edited for laptop picture look almost alike, though it looks as if you sharpened the laptop picture and increased the saturation a bit or played with the GBR curve, though not too much. The flower itself is purple, the rose leaves are a light light yellow-green, leaves in the background have a darker green. The bee has black and yellow stripes.
    – edited for iPad: the image itself is darker, all leaves are green and have no trace of yellow anymore, the flower became a strong lila and the bee’s stripes became orange instead of yellow.

    I hope this helps, but maybe someone else can give you a more detailed info. Have a great weekend! 🙂

    1. Wow. thanks for such detailed feedback Hanni. It sounds as if you have the same viewing experience as me. When I edit for the Ipad, the colours look way over saturated for the laptop. Really grateful for your help.

  3. When I got this computer my son came with me and checked the colour calibration online as he knew it would be needed for photography. I do know that the difference between all my computers is quite marked. Lovely photos.

    1. Thanks, Raewyn. If your computer is calibrated, could you do me a big favour and tell me if its the laptop or ipad photos that seem the most unnaturally coloured? Thanks.

      1. I got my son to look at your images and he has come up with these ideas – low contrast in laptop, poor colour depth in laptop and lacking in red tones that makes you over compensate to give the underlying red tones. Your laptop gave more detail in the flower than the iPad. Your beach scene came out better in the iPad editing.
        His suggestion is that the laptop needs colour calibration which you can do yourself but costs money to buy right programme. Or ask someone in camera club to help you.
        Hope that helps

      2. Raewyn, that is fabulous feedback… Not sure anyone anymore tech literate than me at CC. And, as far as I’m aware, no controls to calibrate laptop monitor but at least with feedback like this, I should be able to keep in mind idiosyncrasies between two displays. Thank you so much.

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