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Your Questions | Using X-Rite ColorChecker Passport in Lightroom


by Brenda K. Hipsher – November 22nd, 2013

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.

ColorChecker Passport

 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.

ColorChecker Passport

 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.

ColorChecker Passport

 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.

ColorChecker Passport

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.

ColorChecker Passport

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.

ColorChecker Passport

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.

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 1.25.43 PM

Leave your questions here as a comment or on X-Rite Photo on Facebook or @xritephoto on Twitter for future blog postings to answer your questions about X-Rite color management solutions.

Categories: Your Questions | Tags: , , ,

10 responses to “Your Questions | Using X-Rite ColorChecker Passport in Lightroom”

  1. Some of us do like the videos. Please do both= written and video. I need to hear and see it. I start and stop the video AND follow along on my own computer.

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      We have many, many tutorials at http://www.xritephoto.com on using X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Please visit this linkhttp://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?id=1257&catid=28&action=overview
      You will see videos in the middle of this page that I think you will find helpful!
      Thanks for your comment,
      Brenda K. Hipsher

  2. George says:

    Great description. I have one annoying problem. The plug in from lightroom is not asking for a file name. It just uses the default name. How do I change it to ask for a file name.

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      The plug-in gives you a box to name the profile BEFORE the profile generation. When you click on “Export with Preset” and then “ColorChecker Passport” you will see a dialogue box that comes up with the default name “Untitled Profile.” Before you save that and go forward with the profile generation add your custom name there.

  3. I am a photography teacher and I have requested to my school the purchase of the color checker passport. Our supplier says “this product is end of life”. Means this that Xrite intend to stop the production?

    Best Regards

    R. Bacchin

    • Sandra Kehoe says:

      The information you received from your supplier is NOT correct. The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport is one of our best selling products and is considered an industry standard and a ‘must have’ tool for photography, design and color critical professionals. Who is your ‘supplier’?

  4. Rochelle says:

    When making a new profile, should the tint be automatically adjusted as well in the preset? Mine saves it with a tint adjustment. Also, after “exporting with a preset”, how do I get it to give me a pop-up box to name my new profile before saving? It just makes a new one and asks if i want to replace the other one. I hope my questions make sense!

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      The plug-in gives you a box to name the profile BEFORE the profile generation. When you click on “Export with Preset” and then “ColorChecker Passport” you will see a dialogue box that comes up with the default name “Untitled Profile.” Before you save that and go forward with the profile generation add your custom name there.

  5. Fabio says:

    In another XRite tutorial are advised to select the fourth patch from left for create the white balance.
    This is the reference: http://support.xritephoto.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/White-Balance-Camera-Calibration-Lightroom.pdf
    I also understand that after setting the white balance to be create the custom camera profile.
    I find colors differences in the same photo with this two workflows.
    Which is the correct patch and the correct workflow?

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      Thanks for the question Fabio. Adobe recommends using the SECOND white patch. That is the white on the ColorChecker Passport that conforms to the formulation of our X-Rite ColorChecker White Balance Cards. In recent months, some photographers had contended that using a darker grey patch gives the software more data in the higher end so that if the second white is a bit over exposed and some colors are “clipped” then the darker grey would give you a better neutral.
      So in general we recommend the second white patch but all of the grey ramp is neutral so you could use any one of them and should not see a significant difference unless there is clipping in one of the channels on the second white patch. Hope this helps.

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