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Check your lab’s website in case there are specific calibration instructions

This is quite rare, but it’s a good idea to check. You see, almost all labs adhere very sensibly to the modern calibration temperature standard of 6500K (sometimes also called “D65“). Sadly, however, there are some labs out there which still stubbornly cling to the 1990s standards of 5000K/D50 or 5500K/D55. Millers, Mpix and Bay Photo are most notorious for this foolish setting.

So, check your lab’s website to see if they give specific advice in this regard. Most labs won’t mention it at all; in which case you can assume 6500K. Some labs will specifically say 6500K, which is great. If you happen to find that your lab specifies a different temperature, consider switching labs in the future, but for now, write down the number they advise. We’ll need it later.

You might be wondering why this matters. It matters because if your lab forces you to calibrate your screen to a too-warm colour temperature, it means that when you’re browsing the web, everyone else’s photos will look too warm to you, and your photos will look too cold to everyone else. Not good. 6500K is the web colour standard, and since the web rules the world, it is unavoidably the photography standard too. Most labs get this – Millers, Mpix and Bay do not.

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