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2.1 Your Surroundings

In this lesson you'll learn the importance of taking your surroundings into consideration when viewing your images. This includes your lighting, windows, neutral painted walls, and calibrated print-viewing booths.

2.1 Your Surroundings

Welcome to Chapter Two. In this chapter, we're going to get ready to view our images. In this lesson, we're going to discuss your surroundings and how that can play a role into what you see on your monitor. it's important that you put some thought into your office lighting situation. The key is to have an area that provides consistent lighting as you view your images on your monitor. You also want to view your images against a neutral background. Ideally, you would want subdued lighting. You want to be able to control your ambient light. A 5,000 Kelvin lighting situation is pretty good. You can purchase lamps for this purpose, if necessary. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are in a room with large windows, you have to be aware that your lighting will change throughout the day. Or if you have blinds in your office, you could close or partially close them. If you have curtains, you could shut the curtains. Not every situation will necessarily be ideal but it's key that you do the best you can. As far as specific types of lighting in your workspace, Tungsten Lights, which is a form of incandescent light, is generally recommended. It has a continuous visual spectrum that provides an ideal condition for viewing photos on your monitor. Florescent lights and CFLs, or Compact Florescent Lights on the other hand, are generally not recommended. They can have a mixed white balance that's not always immediately detectable to the human eye but it can affect the appearance of the colors of your photos on your monitor by giving them a slight color cast. In addition, they're known to give some people headaches, and tiring out the eyes and that's definitely not a good thing. Now LED lights are a maybe. Sometimes their color temperature is not stable, thus affecting the appearance of your photo on your monitor, which can give it a color cast. The lighting can be a bit harsh at times, as well. Finally, if you have access to a photo viewing booth specifically designed for viewing photos on your monitor, this can be a great option although not readily available to everyone. If you don't have one in your home, you can purchase one online. You could build one or you can find a local print lab that has one that you can use. It's important that you make do with what you have. For example, you can use 5,000k bulbs and put them into affordable lamps. That brings it to the end of this lesson. We discussed how to make your surroundings conducive to viewing your images in a consistent, neutral setting. In our next lesson, we're going to discuss how to calibrate our monitor to view our images.

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