Photoshop: OMG I’ve Got my Ott! (Ott-Lite, that is …)

Updated 08/29/21



“What?? That’s not what my print looks like – it’s way different in this lighting!”  – How many of us have had that frustrating conversation, and want to know how to avoid it?


When it comes to Digital Imaging, there are  Three Steps to Successful Color Management.  In my experience, the most overlooked is #3: Assure that you have the proper Lighting Conditions and Perception (more here on Perception).


Before your eyes start to glaze over, let me start with a quick and simple definition:  Color Management allows you to print what you see on your monitor with a large degree of accuracy. The old adage,”WYSIWYG” (What You See Is What You Get) readily applies when you are properly color-managed.


More on Color Management 101 for Photographers here:


So, back to Lighting Conditions, one of the essential elements in Color Management:   In “non-propeller-head” terms, your goal is to emulate viewing your print at noon on a bright sunshiny day, no matter where you are.   To accomplish that, the Graphics profession (print labs, galleries, museums,  etc.) generally uses the accepted “standard” in Digital imaging, which is  5000°K, or “D50”.  All lighting sources are different, so you need to use the “standard” when viewing and evaluating your prints, too.


Don’t know (or care) what all those goofy numbers mean? No worries, keep reading – (“Propeller-heads”, feel free to click here for more on the subject) …


Enter the Ott Lite:   Inexpensive “balanced” lighting at around 5000°K  – If you’ve ever been to one of my Seminars or Meetups, then chances are you’ve seen me use them.  They’re great for prints up to 16×20 or so, and available at Office Depot, starting at around $20.  I bought all three models shown above, including a portable battery operated one, for around $70.


There are other options of course, but this will get you headed in the right direction quickly.   For more on this subject, click here to download my free PDF, “The 3 Steps to Successful Color  Management”




  Want to see Color Management in action?  Check out “Class 5” of my “Photoshop 101” series of FREE online & live Photoshop Meetups – available nationwide:


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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 tell your photography friends!


Thx again, and cheers,


John Watts 🙂



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