This is the perfect scenario on why you need to calibrate your LCD monitor: Your photos or graphic projects on your monitor, look nothing like the way they were in your scene or your printout.
What is monitor calibration? Basically, it’s a way of correcting your computer screen’s color so that what you see is actually how things are supposed to look. Monitor calibration is one part of a color-managed work flow, but it’s the easiest and most important step to take, because it’s how you, the user and editor of your files, see your images.
Entry Level Monitor Calibration for Photo Professionals
What we like about this unit, is how easy is to use and set it up. You don't need to spend a lot of money or time, to achieve a decent color profile for your monitor. It has an easy to follow user interface, that walks your thru the entire process. Features like, highest sensitivity in dark areas for better control in shadow detail and the built in ambient light sensor to measure the right conditions, gives this budget unit an edge against the more pricier competition. $176 is all you need. You can also use the i1iO to read targets for specific color measurements.
Spyder 3 Express
This unit is even cheaper ($75) and provides almost all you need to correctly calibrate your monitor. It has some patented optics than ensure that your colors will match accurately with reliability and constant performance. You can also access the before and after feature to check the progress you've made. Now, what you see on the real life, will look the same on your monitor and even after you print it.