We’re beginning a new series here where we directly address some of your questions that you send either in comments here on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter. Our first question comes from Facebook.
I have Color Checker Passport. I am not at all new to photography, and am quite familiar with Lightroom, but for the life of me, I can’t use the LR plugin with any satisfactory effect whatsoever. Obviously, I am not doing in correctly. I know there are videos, but I hate videos and would really love a written, step-by-step guide. I am having a really hard time getting the WB correct on my Nikon NEFs from my D700, especially in my studio, in which a I have pair of Bowens Gemini 400s – ideal conditions. Thank you in anticipation of your help.
Ok here we go. When you install Camera Calibration software a plug-in is also installed for Lightroom. Take a photo that includes your ColorChecker Passport. For the photo below I did an in camera white balance although this is not necessary when shooting RAW files. I do it because it makes me more comfortable looking at the LCD of the camera and because if I decide to flip over to video my white balance will be very close for video.
Choose File->Export with Preset -> ColorChecker Passport to access the Lightroom plug-in for Camera Calibration software. This plugin automates most of the process for making a custom camera profile.
Next choose the name for your profile. Make sure it is descriptive. Here I’m choosing CCPP to let me know it’s from ColorChecker Passport, Canon 7D to tell me what camera body I’m profiling, and Studio to tell me the lighting source for this profile. Be choosing a name that describes the profile I can easily find it and apply it later.
Note in the upper left hand corner of the window a progress bar shows that the profile is being created. During this process this RAW file is processed to a DNG file. Then the ColorChecker Classic is found and the software lines up on each of the 24 colors of the target. Finally the software evaluates what the file has recorded and creates a camera profile that allows RAW files shot on that camera to display as accurately as possible, ready for processing once the camera profile is applied before processing.
Once the profile has been created the plug-in will report that it is finished. At this point Lightroom should be shut down and restarted. Any profile that is created while Lightroom is open cannot be seen until the program is restarted.
The camera profile is selectable in the Camera Calibration window at the bottom right of the Develop module. Simply select the custom profile and it will be applied to this RAW image.
Next take the eye dropper and select the second patch from the white patch on the ColorChecker Classic. This will render the file neutral. The profile and neutral or white balance are two separate actions. Even if you have done an in camera white balance, be sure to white or neutral balance again after application of the custom profile.
To apply these settings to multiple files simply select them with the corrected file selected first and then hit “Sync” in the lower right of the develop module. This screen will appear. White balance and Calibration should be selected to apply the custom camera profile and the custom white balance to all the files selected. Immediately you will see the color and tone of the selected images shift to the correct color.
Be sure to download and install DNG Profile Manager so that you can manage the profiles you create. And enjoy all the great content we have for you on the product page for ColorChecker Passport at www.xritephoto.com. You’ll find lots of information on the Support tab in the middle of the page.