How to Get Perfect Color from Every Camera with X-Rite

Most photographers have more than one camera. It’s not uncommon for photographers to have more than one brand of camera like a Canon and a Sony, or a Fuji and a Nikon for instance. The problem is, each camera has its own unique sensor to receive light and color in a different way. Even if you have the same camera maker and the same body, for example, the Canon 5D Mark IV, depending on the time they were made, the sensors still might have slightly different color responses. 

This can become a problem, especially if you work with assistants or second shooters using different cameras and camera systems. Straight out of the camera, all of the images will have different color responses when they are supposed to look the same and have the same style. This is why calibrating our cameras is important. 

Let's go over how to make ALL of your cameras—no matter what brand or style they are—look like every photo came from the same camera with the same exact style. 

This is where the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 comes in handy. 

 

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 

All you need to do is to take a picture of the 24 patch ColorChecker Classic target in the Passport Photo 2 with each of your cameras in two different types of light—a warm light and a cool light. By doing so, you create a dual illuminate profile which is a master profile that understands how your camera sees color in almost every kind of light. Ensure that Lightroom is closed and install Camera Calibration Software v2.0 from X-Rite.  

X-rite color checker passport shot in a cool and warm light

Export Images to Lightroom 

Once you have your photos, upload them into Lightroom. Make sure you have installed X-Rite's plugin into Lightroom before-hand. From there you will highlight the two images from your desired camera body and export them using File -> Export with Preset -> (X-Rite Presets) ColorChecker CameraCalibrations. Name your profile whatever your camera is, for example, 5D Mark IV. Then simply export. 

The X-Rite Camera Calibration software takes the color information from both photos and creates one profile for your camera. That profile will then transfer the color from your sensor's version of the color it sees to the actual color on the color checker passport. This means the color from every one of your cameras will be translated so they all have the same appearance. 

Using Your Profile in Lightroom 

Once you restart Lightroom, your profile will be saved automatically. You can find your profile above the Temperature and Tint controls inside Lightroom's Develop Module. Click on the four-square icon on the right. Here you'll see the "Profile" selection below. By clicking on the thumbnail images, you'll be able to apply the profile. 

Pro Tip 

When in Lightroom’s Develop Module and after you’ve selected your new camera profile, on the left side panel click the “+” next to presets and create a new preset. Then select only “Treatment and Profile” and name it with your camera model (and serial if you have multiple of the same camera). Now, when importing your photos into the catalog select your new profile under Apply During Import -> User Presets. This will save the time of having to apply the profile after importing them. 

Creating color profiles using the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 will give you greater consistency across your images, better quality photos and will decrease your post-production time. So, get to it! 

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