Get those collors right- calibrate your monitor!

Or as it was in my case- get a proper monitor in the first place.

When working on Leidi misterie photo I had this strange feeling that something was not right with the colors as I did play arround with white balance a bit. So I took the photo to a lab and printed it. Good thing I did! Here is what it looked in the first place:

Too yellow you think? It seemed perfectly fine on my LG laptop monitor (if she doesn't look yellow to you, read on and go find your monitor dealer :) ). 
Jump into the post to see how I calibrated the colors on my laptop.

I didn't really... I tried! But it went completely wrong. For starters I got myself a Spyder 2 calibrator which in theory works with laptop monitors too. In reality it messed up the color profile so badly I couldn't recognize any of my pictures any more. Back to the shop.

A chat with a friendly sales person later I was going home with my brand new Eizo FlexScan S2232W.

It came bundled with a calibrator and software. As I understand it is a Spyder3 with Eizo label on it.

Installed on Win Vista without any problems at all. The software takes a while to startup on my aging laptop though (everything freezes for some seconds after login). After calibration I compared the default profile with calibrated one- not much difference, so if you're not too picky you can skip that part.

Was it worth it? Every single penny! There is so much more detail in the pictures now! And when I print my pictures, they look almost the same on paper as they do on screen!


Leidi Misterie shoot

I feel that it is about time to write down how the portrait of Leidi misterie was created. I am really happy about the final outcome of this session. It was a quite a journey before we got to this:


On this photoshoot we worked together with a Gothenburg based make up artist Josefin - Nordic Beauty.

Tech details of combining two pictures and changing background with the GIMP - inside the post.

The whole thing as you can see is two pictures. A flower which I shot while on vacation in Lithuania (mothers garden... :) ) and Leidi misterie.

The original pictures look like this:


 The flower is all natural light. It was shot with the same D40 and macro filters as the bugs in this previous post.

Leidi misterie is lit by two SB-800 flashes. One of them inside a shoot-through umbrella, right outside the picture above her head, the other fired directly into the sealing on the right side. To kill the rest of shadows I used a reflector on the left side (not a reflector, but the thing to put over the car dashboard on a sunny day :) it does bounce the light!). Lights triggered with Elinchromes.

I was standing on two soft seats above her, trying not to fall... It was hard to keep from laughing in that awkward position... we pulled off one good shot :)

One mistake here- the background. It was very hard to clean up while postprocessing. It would have saved me some hours if I used the green one like the pros do... Now we shot on whatever was available. Afterwards I used layer mask in the GIMP to remove the unwanted areas. To get a starting point of the mask, I made a copy of the image, then used Colors->Thershold... tool.


It turns the picture into black and white. Afterwards all you need to do is copy it into the layer mask of the original photo and clean up till it looks something like this:

The above mask is not only completed by painting, but also Gausian Blur was applied to it to smoothen the edges.
To cast a shadow I created a new completely black layer and applied the same mask to it, then moved the mask slightly to the left and reduced layer opacity to arround 30%.

Eventually the flower was too brigh/saturated so I added another white layer and masked it where needed.

All layers together look like this:

In between there was some fiddling with colors/curves, a little bit of cloning... The usual stuff.
All in all, this picture was definitely worth the effort!
Have fun!