What Monitor Do Professional Photographers Use? Best Features

What monitor do professional photographers use? Usually, the best one they can get. A good quality monitor is just as important as a good quality camera for professional photographers. As a photographer, you’d like to translate your images accurately when it’s time to print or upload them to the internet.

The wrong monitor will have your work looking slightly different or completely altered at worst. This difference can be due to issues with resolution, color accuracy, and aspect ratio, or that your monitor is not suited to photo editing.

Unfortunately, many photographers (probably amateurs) will spend a lot of money on expensive cameras and then buy a random monitor. A possible reason for this may be budgetary limitations, but you can always choose one from the best monitors for photo editing under $200. Another reason is ignoring the fact that there are monitors designed specifically for photo editing. We can address that second reason by looking through features specific to a photo editing monitor.

Features Of Monitors Used By Professional Photographers

1. Adequate Screen Size

Scientific studies have established that people who spend 10 hours or more looking at a screen risk developing various symptoms of digital eye strain. Professional photographers are already at risk due to the nature of photo editing work which demands long hours at the monitor. Further, since small screens will display small images, users are likely to lean forward to see clearer, negatively impacting their eyes, backs, and necks. Therefore, one way to reduce these negative effects on one’s health is to get a large enough monitor.

We recommend a ‘large enough’ screen and not ‘the largest’ because bigger doesn’t always mean better, especially when it comes to screen size. Granted, larger monitors offer more workspace to open more tabs, facilitating multitasking and increasing overall photo editing efficiency. However, you can only view sharp images and the minute details of your photographs when that large monitor has the right resolution. So ensure you check out the screen’s pixel density before picking that large monitor for photo editing.

2. The Right Resolution

For the highly detailed work of photo editing, you must have the right image sharpness and clarity. Your distance from the screen and the glare of ambient lighting affects clarity, but what truly decides image clarity is the pixel density. Monitor pixel density refers to the number of pixels per square inch (PPI) of your screen. The interaction between screen size and resolution determines your PPI.

For example, a 27-inch monitor at full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution will give you a pixel density of about 81 PPI. The same monitor at Quad-HD (2560 x 1440) resolution will give a higher 108 PPI pixel density. The higher the pixel density (PPI), the sharper the image will be on the screen, improving the quality and efficiency of your work. There are easy ways to calculate pixel density online to help you decide before buying a monitor.

3. Precise Color Accuracy

Color accuracy is essential to photography and photo editing, as it allows you to bring your images to life on camera, on-screen, and in print. One monitor feature that influences this life-like color reproduction on screen is its color space. A color space is a specific color combination within a color model. Color models define the spectrum of colors without specifying their display. 

1. Color space and color accuracy

So a color space will use a color’s hue, saturation, and brightness to reproduce it on the screen, limiting it to the spectrum of colors of the color model. The more popular color spaces on the market today are sRGB and Adobe RGB. Adobe RGB gives a wider range of colors within its color model (color gamut) than sRGB. As such, an Adobe RGB image displayed on an sRGB monitor will have missing colors and therefore look less vivid.

You want a professional photo editing monitor with wide color gamuts for vibrant, vivid images. For instance, 90% sRGB is ideal for website images, while 70% AdobeRGB will have your printed images looking as good as they do on screen.

Different leaves color edited with the best photo editing moitor
Color accuracy gives you image vibrancy and sharp images

2. Delta E value and color accuracy

Another specification that affects color reproduction is the monitor’s Delta E (dE) value. Delta E is a measure of how accurately our human eyes differentiate colors. In a monitor, dE indicates how accurately true-to-life color is displayed. It is measured between 0 and 100, where 100dE means the displayed color is opposite of the real color, and 0dE displays true-to-life colors. The best PC monitors for photo editing have the lowest possible dE value.

4. Suitable Panel Technology

The panel refers to the actual screen of your monitor consisting of an LCD layer, color filters, glass substrates, and polarizing layers. There are mainly three types of panels: Twisted Nematic (TN) panels, Vertical Alignment (VA) panels, and In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels. Video editing and gaming prefer the older TN panels because of their quick response time. However, their viewing angles are highly inferior to the other two panels. This inferiority affects color and contrast perception on screen.

VA panels are the rarer panels of the three. They are better than TN panels with regard to viewing angles and accurate color reproduction. They also have larger contrast ratios than IPS panels, allowing richer darks and blacks. While this is a valuable feature for gamers, it is not as valuable to photographers. 

IPS panels have the most superior viewing angles, offering up to 178° horizontal and 178° vertical viewing angles. This means that colors and contrast look the same regardless of your position in front of the screen. Further, IPS panels offer the best support for color space technologies and higher contrast ratios and color depth. Therefore, IPS panels are undoubtedly the best for professional photographers. In fact, they are in nearly all the best laptop monitors and PC monitors for this type of work.


Based on these few specifications, it is clear that not all monitors are suitable for photo editing. Therefore, it is important to look through the specifications carefully to see which one will be best suited for your kind of photo editing.

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