Color Management in Photoshop: What are you REALLY seeing?


08/01/22 – This post has been updated – WITH VIDEO:


Howdy folks…

It has been my experience that of the three steps to proper Color Management in Photoshop the most overlooked is #3: Assure that you have the proper Lighting Conditions and Perception. I want to prove my point on Perception.

Have you ever walked inside a building after being outside in bright sunlight, and had to wait for your eyes to adjust to the inside lighting conditions? Our eyes adjust to the environment around us, which is why, when you are working on your images on your monitor, it is important to:

1) Change monitor screen theme colors to neutral gray

2) Reduce room lighting

3) Avoid “loud” wall colors

4) Be conscious of the color of your clothes – wear neutral grays and black, not a colorful Hawaiian shirt.

5) Use a Proper Light Source for Viewing your Prints – Your light source should ideally be 5000°K, or “D50”. The light fixture should be placed off to the side of your monitor, fairly close, but not so close that it causes major glare on your monitor screen.

There are many sources for 5000°K/D50 bulbs and fixtures. I would suggest a search on the internet or a visit to your local hardware store or office supply store. I personally like the Solux products ( or the Ott Lites ( A good inexpensive and readily available alternative would be to buy GE Chroma50 bulbs on the internet or your local hardware store.

If you take care of these 5 steps properly, it makes interpreting what you see on your monitor easier.

Our eyes are miracles that God created – but even God has a sense of humor! 🙂 Do not underestimate how easily our eyes (and by extension, our brain) can be tricked.

Take a look at these websites for proof that “Perception is not always Reality”:

Bottom Line: You may not be seeing what you think you are seeing! Give yourself an “edge” and eliminate as many variables as possible.


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•  By the way, this is all based on my Photoshop book designed for photographers, “Not just another Photoshop Book”, available exclusively on Amazon:


Questions? Please contact me – also, feel free to comment and forward this to your photography friends!


Thx again, and cheers,

John Watts 🙂




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