For a long while I was happily loading images into the computer, and assuming what I see on the screen would appear exactly when producing prints.
Take it from me, if you wish to pursue the art of digital imaging, then monitor calibration should be the first thing on your list.
I will not attempt to explain how to calibrate your monitor. There is a plethora of information out there on the WWW. As a guide, there is the cheap and the expensive route.
For cheap monitor calibration for Apple users there is the Apple ColorSync Calibrator. I am not an apple user myself, so I have found this information with a little research.
For the Windows user, I have found a free and handy website from ePaperPress. They have a section dedicated to Monitor Calibration. This website has handy tools to get you on your way, along with explanations of the calibration process.
Up the scale of under £100 are hardware solutions from companies like Datacolor and Pantone. From Datacolour you have the Spyder 2 Express which is around the £55 mark or $65US, or the updated Spyder 3 Pro version for just under £100 or $160us (now Spyder 4 – 05.11.21). On my trip to America I purchased the Spyder 2 Pro, which is just under £120 or £150US. Used in conjunction with my Epson R2400, I have produced wonderful results. From Pantone is the Huey Pro for a little under £100 or £130US.
I recommend any of these products if you are home printing in small quantities, or selling via the internet.
If you plan on setting up a larger scale printing and selling business you may want to look into the higher rated products from these and other manufacturers. They usually consist of having to calibrate your monitor with the use of prints specifically from your printer, and depending on paper type, you create dedicated ICC profiles. You will get the most accurate results from this method, but for me it seems a little long winded for basic home printing, or internet selling. Prices from £300 to over £1000!!! The choice is yours.
Most printer paper manufacturers will have printing profiles for your printer type, available free from their websites. So as long as your monitor is calibrated, you should achieve harmonious results.