We don't do a lot of "how to" photography posts on the SCU site, because the focus is typically on marketing and business. However, every now and then something really terrific comes along that's relevant to some aspect of your work. In this case, it's the presentation quality of your images.
This post from Jeff Lazell at X-Rite has so much great information in it. Showing your images with all the quality they're meant to have is critical to your success as an artist. Jeff does an outstanding job of taking through all the features of the X-Rite Color Checker Passport and a better understanding the significance it plays in color calibration.
One of his last sentences says it all and hits on the issue to stop eyeballing color calibration and do it right...
Learn how you can stop guessing and start knowing with color management solutions from X-"Rite!"
Whether you work in the photo industry, or pursue photography as a passion or hobby hopefully you have come across one of my favorite color management tools at least once. The X-Rrite ColorChecker Passport.
Now, I am sure that many if not most of the readers of this blog are familiar with what all these little squares of color are and what they do, but today I thought I’d go over the whole thing from top to bottom in hopes of clearing up any confusion and to provide a resource for those just dipping their toes into the world of color management on the camera level.
The ColorChecker Passport is very simply put a set of calibration cards for you to include in test shots while shooting.
Not unlike a photographer’s gray card. In fact it does include a gray card in the set. This can be used to set a custom in camera white balance while shooting. Of course the procedure for this is going to be different from camera to camera, so its best to just check your manual for instructions on how to do that for your own camera. But in general the process usually involves taking a photo in the light you are looking to calibrate for filling the frame with the grey card and then following the steps in the camera’s menu to set the white balance.
Once you have finished shooting and have moved on to the processing stage you will begin to see just how powerful a tool the ColorChecker Passport is and how easy it is to integrate into your workflow.
Now what are these other gray patches for then?
Again this is all about speeding up the color correction process, it gets you to the fun part of editing sooner. It also adds consistency to your edits, no more vaguely moving sliders until it looks right and because we are working with constants, this step is always repeatable.
Combining the use of a ColorChecker Passport with a properly calibrated monitor will go a long way to solving whatever color issues you may have and give you the confidence to know that you are getting true, consistent color every time you shoot. Adding it to your workflow is not only going to save you time, but it also the color headaches that sometimes come with digital photography. I hope this little run though helped, if there are any more questions be sure to leave them in the comments or check out our webinar archive here.
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