Dual Monitor Setup For Photo Editing

Dual Monitor Setup For Photo Editing – Benefits and Best Practices


As a photographer, I’ve always been on the lookout for ways to streamline my editing process and create an efficient workspace. One game-changing discovery I made along the way was the power of a dual monitor setup for photo editing. Trust me; it’s something that every serious photographer should consider implementing to improve their workflow. The concept of a dual monitor setup is simple: you have two monitors connected to your computer, which effectively doubles your screen real estate. In this article, we’ll discuss the remarkable benefits of using two of the best monitors for photo editing and provide practical tips on how to set up and optimize this workspace powerhouse.

The use of dual monitors can significantly increase productivity, provide better organization of your tools and applications, and enhance your overall editing experience. From the increased workspace that allows you to work with multiple applications simultaneously, to facilitating a more seamless workflow and ensuring enhanced precision in your editing work, a dual monitor setup can work wonders. Additionally, with the right setup and ergonomic choices, you can even experience reduced fatigue during those long editing sessions.

But, as you’ll soon discover, not all dual monitor setups are created equal. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the right monitors and configuring your workspace for the best possible photo editing experience. So let’s dive in and unveil the true potential of dual monitor setups for photo editing!

Benefits of Dual Monitor Setups for Photo Editing

As a photographer who’s spent countless hours editing photos, I can attest to the remarkable difference a dual monitor setup has made in my editing process. Let’s explore the primary benefits of using a dual monitor setup in photo editing, which include increased workspace, improved workflow, enhanced precision, and reduced fatigue.

Increased Workspace

One of the most obvious advantages of a dual monitor setup is the expansion of your workspace. With two monitors, you can easily open and work with multiple applications simultaneously. This can be particularly useful when editing photos, as you may need to switch between your photo-editing software, a file explorer, and a web browser for reference images. With two screens at your disposal, you can prevent the constant minimizing and rearranging of windows, freeing up valuable time and mental energy.

Improved Workflow

A dual monitor setup can do wonders for streamlining your editing process. For instance, you can have reference images or detailed editing tools open on one screen while working on your main project on the other screen. This separation allows you to simply glance from one monitor to the other, rather than constantly clicking between tabs and applications. Additionally, you can use your secondary monitor to display tutorials or videos related to the techniques you’re applying in your editing, making it easier to follow along and apply those techniques effectively.

Enhanced Precision

Distractions can be the enemy of precision, especially when editing photos that require a keen eye for detail. By dedicating one monitor to your main image and the other to tools, palettes, and reference materials, you create a focused environment that allows for greater attention to detail. With fewer distractions and a more concentrated editing experience, you’re likely to achieve better results in your final edited images.

Reduced Fatigue

Lastly, considering the amount of time many of us spend in front of screens each day, a dual monitor setup can help reduce eye strain and maintain focus by allowing you to switch between tasks without minimizing or closing windows. Giving your eyes a brief break from staring at a single screen can alleviate some of the strain associated with prolonged periods of screen time. Additionally, this setup can help maintain productivity by ensuring that you don’t lose your place or train of thought when switching between tasks.

In summary, a dual monitor setup for photo editing can significantly improve your workspace, workflow, precision, and overall experience.

Choosing the Right Monitors

So, you’re ready to reap the benefits of a dual monitor setup for your photo editing workstation. But before you dive into purchasing any monitors, it’s vital to carefully consider your options and make the right choice that best fits your editing needs. In this section, we’ll explore three critical factors to take into account when selecting the best monitors for your dual monitor setup: resolution, color accuracy, and size and ergonomics.


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right monitors for photo editing is their resolution. High-resolution monitors allow for an accurate representation of your images, enabling you to see more details and make more precise adjustments. A higher resolution also means you’ll have more screen real estate, so you can place multiple windows or toolbars side by side, ultimately enhancing your multitasking and productivity.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, a good starting point is to opt for monitors that can display at least a 2560×1440 (QHD) resolution. If budget permits and if it is crucial for your workflow, you may consider monitors with 4K (3840×2160) or even higher resolutions.

Color Accuracy

Color accuracy is another vital component to consider, as it can make or break the quality of your photo editing output. Photo editing requires working with accurate colors to ensure your images look their best across multiple devices and platforms. This is where panels like In-Plane Switching (IPS) come in handy. IPS panels offer better color reproduction and viewing angles compared to other monitor panel types, such as TN (Twisted Nematic) or VA (Vertical Alignment) panels.

Aside from choosing a monitor with an IPS panel, you should also pay attention to features like color calibration tools and wide color gamut coverage. With color calibration tools, you can fine-tune your monitor’s color settings to ensure consistent and accurate color representation. A wide color gamut, such as Adobe RGB or DCI-P3, ensures that your monitor can display a broader range of colors, which is particularly beneficial for photographers working with more extensive color palettes or high-quality prints.

Size and Ergonomics

Lastly, it’s essential to consider the size of your monitors and their ergonomic features. Ideally, you want your monitors to be large enough to provide sufficient screen real estate for your photo editing requirements but not too big that they consume an excessive amount of desk space or feel overwhelming to use.

A good rule of thumb is to choose monitors around 24-27 inches in size. Of course, you should factor in your personal preferences and the available space on your desk. Additionally, think about the other aspects related to ergonomics, such as adjustable monitor stands that offer height, tilt, and swivel capabilities. These adjustments allow you to establish a comfortable and ergonomic workspace, which can make long hours of photo editing more manageable and reduce the risk of eye strain and overall fatigue.

By focusing on resolution, color accuracy, and size and ergonomics when shopping for monitors, you can ensure that your dual monitor setup will enhance your photo editing experience and take your work to the next level.

Setting Up Your Dual Monitor Workspace

Setting up your dual monitor workspace for photo editing can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. With the right process in place, you’ll soon have a workspace that significantly boosts your productivity and makes the editing process a breeze. Let’s break down the steps you need to take to create the optimal dual monitor setup for photo editing.

Positioning the Monitors

The first step in setting up your workspace is to properly arrange your monitors for optimal viewing angles and distance. Place your primary monitor (the one you intend to work on mainly) directly in front of you at eye level, with the top of the screen slightly below eye level to ensure a comfortable viewing experience. The secondary monitor should be placed beside the primary monitor with a slight angle to create a smooth transition between the two screens. Ideally, both monitors should be approximately an arm’s length away, and the bezels should be as close together as possible to minimize the gap between the screens.

Calibrating the Monitors

Color accuracy is key when it comes to photo editing, so it’s essential to calibrate your monitors correctly. Using color calibration tools such as a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer, adjust the brightness, contrast, and color settings on both monitors to ensure they display accurate, consistent colors. This process will ensure that the changes you make during editing translate well across different devices and print formats.

Configuring Display Settings

Once your monitors are properly calibrated, it’s time to adjust the display settings to match your needs. Both monitors should have the same resolution and scaling settings to ensure a consistent editing experience. Access your computer’s display settings to configure the resolution, scaling, and orientation of both monitors. In many cases, it’s a good idea to set the primary monitor to be slightly brighter than the secondary monitor, as this can help reduce eye strain when working for extended periods.

Organizing the Workspace

Now that your monitors are correctly set up and calibrated, it’s time to organize your workspace to maximize workflow efficiency. Use your primary monitor for your main editing tasks and keep secondary tasks like reference images, file explorer, and editing tools or palettes on the secondary monitor. By doing so, you can seamlessly move between tasks without disrupting your focus or losing your place in your project.

Managing Cables and Accessories

The final step in creating a clutter-free and functional dual monitor workspace is managing cables and peripherals. Use cable management tools like cable clips or sleeves to bundle and organize cables, keeping them out of sight and neat. Additionally, consider using keyboard shortcuts or mouse gestures to switch between applications on different monitors or adding peripheral devices like a graphic tablet to improve navigation and enhance your editing workflow.

With your dual monitor workspace now set up, you’re well on your way to unlocking the full potential of a much more efficient and enjoyable photo editing experience.

Tips for Optimizing Your Dual Monitor Setup

Making the most of your dual monitor setup in photo editing involves not only having the right hardware and configuring your workspace correctly, but also adopting some clever strategies to enhance your productivity and efficiency. Here are some valuable tips for optimizing your dual monitor setup:

  • Prioritizing tasks: Allocating specific tasks to each monitor can help you stay organized and focused. You might choose to dedicate one monitor to the main image you’re working on, while the other monitor can be used for reference images, editing tools, or communication platforms. By assigning primary and secondary tasks to each monitor, you can quickly and easily refer to your resources without having to switch between windows constantly.
  • Using shortcuts: Navigate between multiple applications and monitors more seamlessly by employing keyboard shortcuts. Most operating systems offer built-in shortcuts to help you work more efficiently. For example, in Windows, you can use the Win + Arrow keys to quickly move windows between screens or snap windows to the sides of the screen. In macOS, there are shortcuts like Cmd + Tab to switch between open applications or Cmd + ~ to switch between windows of the same application.
  • Customizing shortcuts: Tailor your shortcuts to be even more efficient by customizing them for your favorite applications. Many photo editing programs, like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, offer a wealth of keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly perform various actions or switch between tools without having to search through menus. Take some time to learn and customize these shortcuts to suit your personal workflow, and you’ll find yourself saving time in the long run.
  • Saving screen layouts: Do you have a specific arrangement of panels, tools, and windows that you find most efficient? Save these configurations within your editing software or even as a custom workspace in your operating system. By doing this, you can easily restore your preferred layout after making changes or switching between projects.
  • Leveraging virtual desktops: Many operating systems now offer the ability to create virtual desktops, each with its own set of open applications and windows. This can be particularly useful in a dual monitor setup, allowing you to create separate workspaces for different stages of your editing process or different projects altogether. Switch between virtual desktops as needed to maintain a clean, focused workspace without losing access to important resources.

These tips for optimizing your dual monitor setup will help ensure you’re maximizing your productivity, making your overall photo editing experience more enjoyable and efficient. With a well-optimized dual monitor configuration, you’ll be all set to tackle those challenging photo editing projects with ease.


In conclusion, a well-configured dual monitor setup can significantly improve your photo editing experience, workflow efficiency, and overall productivity. By providing additional workspace, streamlining the editing process, enhancing precision, and reducing fatigue, using dual monitors can have a dramatic impact on your work as a photo editor.

Remember that choosing the right monitors, properly setting up your workspace, and optimizing your setup with helpful tips can make a noticeable difference in your editing capabilities. By prioritizing tasks, using and customizing shortcuts, and saving screen layouts, you can further streamline your efforts and make the most of your dual monitor setup.

As a photographer and photo editor, you should always be on the lookout for ways to improve and enhance your work process. If you haven’t already, consider investing in a dual monitor setup to take your editing skills and productivity to new heights. It may seem like a small change, but you’ll likely be amazed by the difference it can make. Happy editing!

The Creativv
American digital marketer and founder of TheCreativv.com with over a decade of experience in event, travel, portrait, product, and cityscape photography.

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