Guest Blog: X-Rite ColorChecker Passport – First Impressions
by Brenda K. Hipsher – March 2nd, 2011
Guest blog by Jake Potts – As a photographer, a major focus of mine is consistency. I want my clients to know what they can expect from me each time they select me for an assignment. Color management is one of those areas that can often be overlooked when it comes to being consistent, but it is key.
Enter the ColorChecker Passport from X-Rite. This is now a vital piece of equipment in my bag. I did not realize how easy capturing and managing correct color could be. The ColorChecker Passport is very easy to use, much easier than trying to guess the right color or trying to go “by the numbers.”
Right off the bat, the size of the ColorChecker Passport is perfect. As primarily a product and still life shooter, I always fumbled with other grey cards trying to squeeze them into the scene at the right angle to catch the light. Not only can the Passport fit in the tightest still life, it also was engineered with a built-in stand so I don’t even have to try to hold it in place or disturb the scene by propping it up against something. Landscape shooters will find this valuable as well.
Secondly, creating custom camera profiles is about as close to fully automated as it gets. There is no reason to be intimidated by creating a custom camera profile any longer. The included software does all the work for you. Take an image with the classic color target visible, and the software will attempt to find the color patches automatically then create the profile. Using Adobe Lightroom a plug-in handles the entire process. When using Adobe Camera Raw the only extra step needed is to convert the raw file format image of the ColorChecker Passport to a DNG file before dragging it into the software. Event and wedding photographers should especially make this a priority. With multiple cameras at any event, the ability to get the same color from every camera will quickly and easily make up the cost of the Passport on the first event.
Lastly, let’s look at the warming and cooling patches for portraiture and landscapes. Sometimes “correct” color isn’t always the best for creativity’s sake. X-Rite has included portrait warming patches as well as cooling and warming patches for landscapes. These patches are a great place to start when adjusting the color temperature of the scene is required. The creative patches can be sampled with the gray balance dropper and can be quickly reverted back to the neutral patch if you do not like the new look.
For everything that the ColorChecker Passport offers, the price is a steal (but don’t tell that to the nice folks over at X-Rite). I would also recommend checking out ColorMunki Photo to get accurate colors from your monitor, projector and printer. The combination of the ColorChecker and ColorMunki will save so much time, and you will probably have to make fewer trips to the store for aspirin because the headache of color management will be gone.
Jake Potts is a commercial photographer currently located in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. For more information, please visit his website at www.jakepotts.com or follow him on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/jakepotts) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Potts-Photography/132474573468240)
We found Jake because he tweeted his experience with X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. You can read more of Jake’s thoughts on his blog at jakepots.com/blog. We hope you’ll tweet your experiences and be sure to use @xritephoto so we can find you! If you would like to be a guest blogger tweet that as well!
All photos in this post are ©2011 Jake Potts and may not be used without permission.