White Balance and Colour Calibration Workflow in Lightroom with the X -Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo

Published: Monday 17th July 2017

Categories: X-Rite

The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo is a must have for any serious photographer and offers the first stand alone camera DNG profiling and RAW workflow solution for use within any RAW file editor.

 

All digital SLR cameras have what is termed a ‘White Balance’ (WB) setting, this is generally a preset (Direct Sunlight, Flash Cloud, Shade, Auto, etc) that can be set from either a button on the camera or within the on-screen menus. By default, this is set to Auto. In this case the camera will assess the scene and set what it thinks is the appropriate white balance for the individual shot.

 

White balance can also be termed as colour temperature and has a significant effect on how your images look when processed through a graphics application. The images below are all the same but for the white balance that has been applied when converting the RAW images through Adobe applications.

 

Each one of the images has a different colour tone from warm to cold.  Visually it is difficult to know which to use to give the correct skin tone etc. in the image.

 

Even the ‘auto’ setting is probably not setting the white balance correctly.

 

The only way of knowing that the white balance truly reflects the colour temperature of the light that the image was shot in, is to use a neutral grey card and capture an image of it in the lighting conditions.

 

The images above again illustrate how different camera white balance settings can have a profound effect on the colour tones you view on your computer screen when editing.

 

The only image that truly reflects the colour temperature of the lighting conditions the image was shot in, is in the centre. The central image has had its white balance set using one of the neutral greys in the bottom strip of the ColorChecker Passport Photo, using an image taken at the start of a typical shoot.

 

As the bottom strip shows neutral greys, any light falling on the patches will reflect the temperature of light falling on to the subject. So when the white balance tool in Adobe Lightroom (see images below) is placed over a patch and clicked, it informs the application that this is the desired neutral for the image and the correct temperature compensation is set for the shot.

 

 

Applying Custom White Balance in Photoshop within Adobe Camera Raw

 

Open the RAW image in to Adobe Camera RAW and select the ‘White Balance Tool’ from the icons in the top menu strip.

 

Click the tip of the eye dropper on the neutral grey and then this will be selected as the white balance for the image.

 

The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo consists of three photographic targets, in one pocket sized protective case and camera calibration software on DVD, making it ideal for all types of work, providing effortless colour control and creative versatility. It is priced at just £90 incl. VAT.