So, how do we ensure our colors are true?
Everybody knows that pictures taken in the morning or in the afternoon look better (mostly) than pictures taken when the sun is high in the sky. However, not that many people notice the difference between fluorescent and tungsten lights, or ‘hot lights' and flash and that is mainly because our brain automatically compensates for the difference. For example, at a wedding, we will always see the bride's gown as white regardless of the light bulbs or candles because our brain already knows the bride is wearing a white gown. The camera, on the other hand, does not forgive and will capture a smiling bride wearing a yellowish gown.
If we are location or wedding photographers and we shoot using existing ambient light we need to understand light temperature in order to capture realistic colors and yet that is not enough.
Well, our ‘blue' pictures mentioned above looked a bit dark on the TV and on my laptop they seemed to be underexposed. However, my monitor at home showed their true color. That is because the TV could not display as many colors as my laptop, my laptop had a higher contrast but my monitor at home was actually calibrated. Think about calibration next time you are in front of a dozen TV's at the store showing the same movie and you will notice that not all of them show the same colors. Another simple test is to look at the same picture in two or three different monitors or more if you have them and you will notice the same picture displays different on each monitor because each has a different profile