First and foremost, before starting up Lightroom 4.0 to work in the image editing process, pay attention to the space you will utilize for image viewing. A photo of my workspace.
Establishing a comfortable working environment allows you to return time and time again to organize and process your images. Start off with furniture designed for working effectively and comfortably within a computing environment.
If you can swing it, paint the room a neutral color or 18% gray. Next, look to the ambient illumination within in your digital darkroom. Lights should be dimmed to allow for the images on screen to be viewed correctly, without reflections from lights or unshaded windows influencing the color of the displayed images. (But don’t set the ambient brightness of the lighting in your work area so low that you can’t read this!) Low light is good, but don’t set it so low that you stumble around or can’t find your coffee.
If you can’t control the lighting from above with a dimmer switch or don’t have adjustable shades over the windows to control the room illumination during the day, at the very least use some inexpensive black foam core to Create a hood on 3 sides of your monitor to eliminate reflections.
In the digital age of photography, you will find yourself spending a bit of time parked in front of your computer and monitor when not in the field or studio capturing images. This isn’t really much different from standing for long hours in front of a light table sorting stacks of slides or sitting at an enlarger in the darkroom. Digital has not changed the fact that it is all still a visual process. But breaks from the computer are really important, or a fatigue factor could prevent you from enjoying and maximizing your passion or photography.
When working at the computer, take frequent breaks to prevent eye and muscle strain. I recommend a 10-minute break once an hour. Taking periodic breaks will only make you healthier and more productive. If your muscles ache and your eyes are tired, you’ve waited too long and will need time to recover. When you have been in front of the computer screen too long, your judgment about what is good color and tone is affected.
The most important tool for viewing digital camera images is your monitor. Therefore, it is important to choose one that has a high-definition screen with good contrast that can be calibrated. (The choices are always improving—check out the recommend display manufacturers in the resource appendix at the end of this book.) At a minimum, a high-quality 23-inch or larger monitor is best for viewing images. With a large display, you can take advantage of more screen real estate for viewing your images within all applications.
Screen resolutions of 1280 x 920 and 1920 x 1200 are excellent to work with. If you want to extend your screen real estate even more and spread out to create the ultimate work space, you’ll be happy to know that Lightroom 4.0 supports dual monitors.
A monitor used for viewing and correcting images should have a neutral gray desktop background. Avoid using a color or an image as a background that could affect your perception of the color of the image you are displaying and adjusting on the screen. Yep, stay away from using as a desktop image that picture of you and yours on that beach with deep aqua blue water and lime green palm trees.
Now, if you really want to go all the way as professionals do, consider wearing a neutral gray or black shirt to avoid reflecting any unwanted colors back into your screen display that might influence your color judgment. Yes, I’m serious!
Don’t wear that loud Hawaiian shirt when image editing.
all the best