The Spyder4Pro

The Spyder4Pro

One of the toughest parts of being a San Diego Photographer is picking the right tools, while not breaking the bank. A photography instructor, at my local community college once said, “if it has the word photography in it; it’s more than like going to cost twice as much. As a thrifty shopper, it is my duty to try to find the balance between quality and cost.

One of the most least likable tasks in photography is post processing. This is the part, where you get to put your camera’s memory stick/sd card into the computer and process the pictures for either print or the web. For most of my customers, they would prefer to just take the pictures or send them to printing lab or take them to their local Walgreens and print them. Since, I do not get to see the end result, I assume they look good. You know what happens when you assume? What I have noticed in my pictures, when I post them to the web, is a slight difference in brightness between my monitor and what the pictures looks like on a different device, such as: a tablet or smart phone.

Many times, I would go ahead and process my pictures, but before exporting all of them I would select one, for testing. I would export the picture, upload it to Dropbox and then view it on a tablet or phone, to check for color and brightness. This was an inexpensive workaround, but another thing that had been bugging me, is that I have two monitors and they don’t match, when it comes to color, contrast, or brightness; no matter how many hours I spend tweaking the control panel. This was the point that I needed something to resolve this issue.

After doing some research, I came across the Spyder4Pro, from Datacolor. They do make three different models, but the Spyder4Express was the least expensive and would only allow you to calibrate one monitor. The Spyder4Elite had all the bells and whistles, but was about $75 more that the middle model and a bit overwhelming. This is where the Spyder4Pro came in; it was just right. It calibrated two monitors and without breaking the bank too much.

Installation of the Spyder4Pro is simple. Pop in the DVD, Click Next a few times, Plug in the device, and you are ready to go. I have to say Spyder device was a little strange looking at first. Picture dangling a mouse from the top of your monitor and just hanging there, while it calibrates itself. The Spyder4 software first asks you to reset all your monitors to factory defaults. The next step is to identify what time of monitor you have. Don’t worry, if you Windows or Mac OS cannot find it; the Spyder will. The next step is to dangle the Spyder from your monitor in a certain area of the screen; it does this with the help of a elliptical weight. The screen will start flashing various colors and then you’re done. The Spyder software will show you a before and after, now key note, newer monitors are pretty much calibrated, so you won’t see a huge difference. The older monitors is where you will notice the difference and Wow!. The final step in the process is to save the profile and you are done, not too hard. I have to say that I am very pleased with the product, I feel better knowing that my monitors are calibrated and they finally actually match now.

I hope I have not bored you too much. I had a lot of fun writing this one like all of my blogs. I trust I have given you some valuable tips to think about, before planning your next shoot. It’s not all bad, just be clear and informative, it will save you a lot of headaches. Remember nothing is set in stone and there is not a perfect formula, so go out and have some fun.