Remember the days when you had to use the Adobe Gamma Control Panel to calibrate your monitor and conform the gamma to a lab or printing device? If you used 3 different labs, digital prepress, or in-house printer, for the most part you had to load a different Gamma Control Panel setting (unless you were an advanced color management user), and then you had to re-adjust your already adjusted image to come close to simulating what you were seeing on your monitor. Back then it was called WYSIWYG, pronounced wizzy-wig.
The term Wizzy-wig was with us until the mid 2000′s and sort of stopped being a calibration term so frequently when monitor calibration took on a new level of accuracy. Today, monitor calibration is a normal procedure for nearly half of the photographers, both pro and serious. Devices to calibrate monitors include several devices on XritePhoto.com and colorvision.com, are easy to use, and just about the least expensive piece of digital equipment you will ever own, adapts to various operating systems and cross platform, create consistency so you can finally see your images more accurately.
A properly calibrated monitor is only as good as the graphics card that feeds it data to be displayed. And the dynamic range or contrast ratio or a monitor will translate the graphics card data to give you the most accurate image color and tonal values.
In my opinion, a properly calibrated monitor is half the battle in color management. The other half is more complex and for the most part, is in place either automatically, or by equipment or services. So in effect, the best thing you can do for your workflow is at least properly calibrate your monitor using a calibration device.
The next level to conquer is learning how and when to use color space profiles and output profiles. 14 years ago you had to either be an expert in color management or hire someone who was to get great results consistently. Color science and manufactures have made it much easier today to take advantage of keeping a consistent means of obtaining predictable results.
Todays cameras are capable of capturing a wider gamut of color than can be seen on a display or even used in an image file upon export. The color space we use confines or expands the color gamut that we can process, and the output limits how much of that gamut can be used ultimately.
Happy trails to you…