This week’s question is from Katherine Walker who asked, “How do you have your editing room set up, i.e. dark curtains/grey walls/black furniture? I’m really not sure what to do and hoping you could help me.” This is a great question, and definitely one every photographer should be asking as they go into post-production.
Watch the Ask SLR Lounge Video
Setting Up the Room
When it comes to actually setting up your room, there is nothing special you really have to do. In other words, going back to Katherine’s question, dark curtains, grey walls, black furniture, etc. is not necessary. These specific set ups were important back in the days of the dark room, but this is not the case with digital editing.
One of the first things to consider when setting up your editing workspace is the brightness of the room. Generally, you should be working in a room with average light, and no direct light falling on the monitor you are editing on. If you edit in an overly bright room with light falling onto the display, you generally end up with images that are too dark. This is because you are trying to compensate for the added light from your room. Other than having a standard lit room with no direct light hitting the displays, there is not anything else special you have to do.
Important Hardware to Have
Now, for hardware there are several things to note. When using a monitor, make sure that you are editing on an IPS display. Two great brands to consider are the Dell UltraSharp line and the ASUS Professional PA line. Both are a great value in their performance versus cost.
Although high performance IPS displays generally come out of the box calibrated, it usually isn’t perfect. Because of this it is always a good idea to have a monitor calibrator to keep your displays accurate. Our studio uses the Spyder 4 Elite as it has support to calibrate two separate monitors running on the same machine.
Another thing to consider when setting up a post-production workspace is the input devices you will need to use, which will really depend how you like to edit. High resolution mice, and also a Wacom tablet if you plan on doing a lot of detailed retouching, are recommended for post-producing images. For mice, we really recommend the Logitech G500, because not only does it have a very high resolution, but it also has adjustable weights, so you can customize the weight of the mouse to your liking. When going extensive retouching, we recommend the Wacom Intuos tablet.
Most post-producers tend to sit in front of their computers for long periods of time, sometimes hours on end, so one thing we really recommend you do not skimp on is a high quality chair. You can get a decent chair for a couple hundred dollars, but be sure you try it out before making the purchase. And if you have some spare change in your pocket, check out the Herman Miller Airon. Personally, it is by far the most comfortable and ergonomic office chair I have used.
With a well-lit room, great monitor, a monitor calibrator for accurate displays, a high resolution mouse, and a comfortable chair to sit on, you should now have a great place to work on your photos.