I recently got a chance to try out X-Rite’s Colormunki Photo device. This allows you to not only profile your monitor (and projector), but also to create printer / paper profiles. What I particularly like about it is that it is very easy to use, and the process has very few steps.
The Colormunki Photo runs about $450 on the street — compared to $170 for the Colormunki Display, which does monitor and projector profiling only. This is a significant price premium to be able to make printer profiles, but it is less than many other devices on the market.
Note that in moving to the Photo from the Display, you do lose two monitor profiling features — Ambient Light Smart Control, which allows the device to sit on your desktop and continuously monitor changes in luminance, and Flair Correct, which allows a final measurement to be made at the end of the profiling process that pulls the device 12 inches off the screen to measure the flare or glare on glossy screens and correct for that in the final profile. These aren’t big losses to me personally, as the lighting conditions in my office don’t change much, and I don’t have a glossy screen (and Flare Correct is a relatively new feature that I have done without up to now.)
Do you need to pay the price premium to be able to create your own printer profiles? If you are not satisfied with free profiles from paper manufacturers or use “odd” papers for which there aren’t free profiles, and you need several profiles made, it could definitely be worth it. If you only need a few made, you can have a 3rd party service make them for you for around $50 each. (One I am familiar with is cathysprofiles.com.)
Here’s a video on using the Colormunki Photo to make printer profiles, and how to bring up the profiles in Lightroom:
(As usual, to increase video quality, after you hit Play, click on the sprocket wheel in the bottom right and choose the highest number.)
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For complete instruction in printing with Lightroom, check out my Producing Great Output series.