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Color Management for Digital Photographers | White Balance and Camera Profiles


by Brenda K. Hipsher – February 24th, 2014

White Balance TargetThis is the third in our five part series called Color Management for Digital Photographers. Today we will deal with issues concerning the captured image in the camera.  First we need to talk about those of you who do not shoot raw images.  There are two inescapable facts: 1. Using a raw image workflow gives you infinitely more control over the processed image. 2. Some of you are only going to shoot .jpg format.  So let’s talk about .jgp shooters first.

It’s important to come to terms with the reality that camera profiles are not usable if you’re in a .jpg workflow. This is because the image is already processed. Profiles are a set of instructions that tell the processing software (Adobe Lightroom or Adobe camera raw) HOW to process the file.  If the file has already been processed, as it would be if you are saving .jpg’s in camera, then the time to apply the profile is already past.

The next point that must be dealt with is that any adjustment to a processed file results in data loss.  This means that if you’re shooting a .jpg workflow you’ll need to use in camera white balance to be sure your neutral or white balance is correct each time the lighting changes. See our recent post “Avoiding Histogram Combing” for more information. You will also want to consider in camera white balance if you switch between still and video on your camera.

White BalanceX-Rite ColorChecker Passport includes a White Balance target ideal for performing an in camera white balance. Just take a photo of the target and don’t worry about whether it’s in focus. Just fill the frame as much as possible and take a photo. Find the custom white balance in your camera’s menu and select the image you just made of that White Balance target.  Once the custom white balance is made be sure to select it in your camera’s menu if your camera does not automatically default to the custom white balance after it is created.


CCPP_ClassicCustom camera profiles are made using the ColorChecker Classic. The mini version included in the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport or a full sized target can be used with Camera Calibration software to produce a custom camera profile for use when processing raw images using Adobe software solutions.

There are two videos available detailing how to use any ColorChecker Classic target to produce custom camera profiles when using either Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop to process your raw images.


You can also click on either Lightroom or Photoshop videos to view them.


Check out parts one and two in this series using the links below:

Color Management for Digital Photographers | An Introduction

Color Management for Digital Photographers | Monitor Calibration and ProfilingX-Rite Color Perfectionists Unite!

Keep your color workflow under control so your images are accurate, consistent, and repeatable. Learn how you can stop guessing and start knowing with color management solutions from X-Rite at www.xritephoto.com.

Get the latest news, special offers, webinar notifications and much more by reading the X-Rite Photo Blog and following @xritephoto on Twitter, “Like” X-Rite Photo on Facebook. Now check us out on Google +. Start saving time and money with color management solutions from X-Rite. Visit www.xritephoto.com for information on all color management solutions for video and still photography.


Categories: Camera Profile, Color Management | Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Color Management for Digital Photographers | White Balance and Camera Profiles”

  1. Allan Richman says:

    Is software included with the Passport??

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