How and Why to Calibrate Your Monitor {and a Giveaway}

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Calibrating my Macbook Pro with Spyder 3 Express

Most of you who read this blog have some sort of fancy camera (i.e. a DSLR) and most of you have some sort of fancy editing program (i.e. PSE, PS or LR) but I cannot safely say that most of you have a monitor calibration system. So, I am going to briefly talk about what the heck that is and why you might need to do it (oh, and I’m giving one away).

What does it mean to calibrate your monitor and why should you do it?

Calibrating your monitor helps you see the colors you think you are seeing, so that the pictures you print have the color you meant them to have.

Simply put, the calibration system measures the colors on your monitor (in the right lighting conditions) and adjusts them to be truer colors if they are off. If you have ever edited a picture, loved everything about it, then printed it and got a big surprise because the picture did not have the colors you were seeing on your monitor, that was most likely because your monitor needed calibrating.

How do you calibrate a monitor? You buy a monitor calibration system. There are many available, some more elaborate and expensive than others. My suggestion to you is access your needs then find the calibration system that will meet those needs. My needs were simple, so I bought a simple system.

What do I use for calibrating my monitor?  Spyder 3 Express. It is affordable, easy to use and effective. I bought it 1.5 years ago and I have been extremely pleased with it. I have a video showing how to use the Spyder 3 Express at the bottom of this post, for those interested.

Here are some tidbits about my Spyder that may be helpful to know:

  • I can calibrate two separate computer monitors with it
  • It notifies me when the calibration has “worn off” and to recalibrate
  • I get notified when there are free software updates
  • It is small and easy to tote with me if I need to calibrate while away

Things to remember about calibrating:

  • Do not calibrate your monitor “cold;” allow it to warm up for 30 min before running the software
  • Do not calibrate in the dark
  • Do not calibrate with light directly hitting your monitor (like don’t have sunlight shining directly on the monitor)
  • Do not calibrate then print at a discount lab (i.e. Walmart, Costco, CVS, etc.) and expect to see the same colors as your monitor – the problem there is the LAB.

To better explain what a calibration system does, here is the product description of Spyder3 Express (per the product page at Amazon):

The Spyder 3 Express adjusts the color on your monitor so your photos appear more accurately. Easy-to-use right out of the box, this award winning proven technology helps you calibrate your display – just like professionals. There’s a reason your on-screen colors aren’t always true. Chances are, your monitor color is the problem, not your camera or your printer. The Spyder 3 Express is a simple monitor color correction tool that automatically adjusts the color of your monitor so what you’re seeing is more true. It is designed for Photo Enthusiasts, Advanced Amateurs, Passionate Photographers and DSLR users of all kinds.


Comment #20, made by Beth, was the winning number chosen via Thank you to all who entered!

I am giving away one brand new Spyder 3 Express calibration system.

To enter the giveaway simply tell me your favorite book (or top 3 for book lovers out there).

  • One entry per person
  • Comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook
  • Giveaway ends Thursday, November 10 at 11:00 PM EST
  • Winner will be chosen via
  • Winner will be notified by me via email and has one week to respond, after which another winner will be chosen


Note: This is not a sponsored post. I will be buying the Spyder3Express for the winner, not DataColor. All links to Amazon are affiliate links which means I earn 3% of sales made through the link, which help me cover the cost of items I giveaway here.

About Amanda

I am passionate about helping others learn how to use their DSLR cameras and editing programs. More information about me can be found at my About page, or by visiting my personal blog.


  1. My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.

  2. My all time favorite book would be Llama Llama Red Pajama, because my daughter and I read it every night before bed for the past year! 🙂

  3. Pamela Johnstone says:

    The Enchanted Wood series by Enid Blyton are my all time favourites.

  4. Three of my favorite books are Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, The Shack by William Young, and The Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers (that whole series is great!).

  5. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov!

  6. Chronicles of Narinia

  7. tiffany dover says:

    My favorite books are Weird by Craig Groeschel, All of the Postsecret books, and my bible for new moms!

  8. To Kill a Mockingbird!

  9. My favorite book is the Bible. I also like the book “The Five Love Languages.”

  10. I don’t have a specific favorite book. I do like a good mystery and the occasional romance novel, though.

  11. I don’t too much, but my recent favorite is Water for Elephants.

  12. ohhh i soo need this.

    my favorite book ever is called “The Family Nobody Wanted” by Helen Doss. It’s a random find at a campground used books section about 10 years ago. I’ve probably read it 20 times.

  13. Theresa Thibodeau says:

    My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. Such a classic!

  14. My all time favorite book is….. The Starry Child by Lynn Hanna… and of course I lOVE every Harry Potter book. 🙂

  15. I have SO many favorite books….. I may give you more than 3. 🙂

    The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
    Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    Sarah’s Key by Tatiana DeRosney
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    Ok… that was 8! 🙂

  16. Kathleen Mahoney says:

    A few of my favorite books: The Bridges of Madison County and The Secret Garden. 🙂

  17. if you give a mouse a cookie~favorite as a kid 🙂 , the notebook, Heaven is for real~an amazing tear jerking book! so inspirational! Hope I win I need to buy one this week if not! Thanks

  18. Right now, my favorite books are the Bible, A Woman after God’s own Heart, and Time for Bed (my 8 month old’s bedtime story!). Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. brigitte graney says:

    No favorite book comes to mind at present, however, I like good mysteries.

  20. Katie Hartsell says:

    My favorite book is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I thought it was thought provoking and beautiful. Her recent book, Committed, is also a really interesting read.

  21. Diane Lewis says:

    I have been in the market for a Spyder calibration system….but I don’t have much luck in contest…but who knows. The Bible is my all time favorite book and would recommend it to everyone. I also love books by Jodi Picoult and Harlan Coben. I’m currently reading “Hold Tight” by Harlan Coben. Thanks for all your informational post!!!

  22. I don’t have A favorite book. My favorite authors are Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, just to name a few.

  23. My fav book is whichever I’m currently reading that I keep reading and right now I’m fully engaged in Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

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