ColorChecker Passport – Get Consistent Color From Every Camera
by Jared Platt – August 1st, 2019
Did you know that every camera has a slightly a different color response? Essentially, every image sensor has a different color cast to it. It’s pretty obvious that comparing a Nikon and a Fuji image of the same red dress will yield completely different versions of red. The same is true for a Canon 5D MIV and a Canon EOS R. But what you may not realize is that even one Nikon D850 and another Nikon D850 can have slightly different color responses to the same scene. There is just no getting around it. All cameras see color differently. X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 can solve this problem.
But you probably want your color to be accurate all the time. I know I want to have accurate color no matter what camera I am using, even if I am using an iPhone. I may be using a Fuji camera for one image and a Canon camera on another and my assistant may be shooting with a Nikon. Even using two different camera I want to deliver images to my client with completely consistent color. My bride’s cream-colored dress needs to appear to be the correct color of cream in every single shot, no matter what camera the images came from. My color needs to remain consistent throughout a wedding, a commercial shoot or even throughout a photo essay. And that is why I calibrate every one of my cameras.
ColorChecker Passport Dual Illuminate Camera Profiles
Getting perfect color starts with making an image of absolute known colors and shades. Then I use ColorChecker Camera Calibration software to analyze those colors to create a profile. A camera profile for each specific camera helps correct for each camera’s unique color response. By creating a Dual Illuminate Camera Profile or what I like to call a Master Profile, for each camera, I ensure that no matter what camera I pick up, or what camera my second shooter is using today, I will have consistent color on every single shot.
Making a Master Profile is Easy
To make your Master Profile, take two photos of the ColorChecker Passport in two very different light sources. The more different the better, for example, full sun and incandescent. Make sure it is clean light, with no cross color contamination from nearby walls. And ensure that both shots are well exposed. In Lightroom, simply highlight both images and go to the export dialogue and choose ColorChecker Camera Calibration. The plug-in will be installed when you install ColorChecker Camera Calibration software. Name the profile based on the camera that you’re using and click the Export Button.
X-Rite Camera Calibration Lightroom Classic Plugin will analyze both photos, identify the color swatches and create a camera profile that will make the adjustments needed to correct for your cameras unique color response. Do this for each camera you own or for each camera that will be used on your job. Then simply apply each profile to every image from the appropriate camera. It doesn’t take long, and you don’t have to make the profiles until you get into post-production. Just have everyone take the two images of the ColorChecker with each camera they will be using at the beginning of the job. You can make the profiles later. If for any reason the Lightroom Classic plugin doesn’t automatically work, you can also use the standalone ColorChecker Camera Calibration software to make the profile.
Apply the Profile for Each Camera
After making a Master Profile for each of your cameras, you will be hard pressed to tell two cameras apart. No more Nikon looking color vs. Canon looking color. It will all be accurate color and your clients will have no idea that it wasn’t all shot with the same great camera by the same great photographer. Once you have accurate color, you can add whatever white balance, saturation, and style you like to your images knowing that the underlying color is indeed correct.
Spend More Time Shooting, Less Time Editing
Creating color profiles will give you greater consistency across your images, you’ll spend less time in post-production work, you’ll have better quality images and that all means greater trust from your clients. And all you need is two shots of a ColorChecker Passport or any ColorChecker Classic 24 patch target. And now with ColorChecker Camera Calibration v2 software you can make single illuminate ICC profiles for us in Capture One.
Download ColorChecker Camera Calibration software here: CLICK HERE
Learn more about photography and post-production from Jared at http://www.jaredplatt.com.
Visit xritephoto.com for information on color management solutions for camera, monitor, projector, scanner, mobile devices, and printers.