Color profiling your camera – why it matters

Pretty flower, isn’t it.

But this post isn’t about flowers. It is about color management and what you can do to get your shots closer to “right”. And it is an advertisment. Yes. And I’m not sorry.

So how did I take this shot you ask? Well, the first two steps were what many of you do anyway.

  • I got a custom white balance using a white balance card. That’s the first important step to get the colors right.
  • I used an external light meter to get the exposure right

And this got me this picture:

Tulip SOC


The red look much more washed out right out of camera, right? So, how did I get from this to the shot above?
Have a look again, side by side, the uncorrected version on the right side

Side by side before and after applying color profile
Side by side before and after applying color profile

You could of course spend time in post production trying to get the colors right and if you’re good you can do it.Or you create a custom color profile for your camera, using a tool called Color Checker Passport from Xrite. And once you created the profile, its just once click in lightroom. Just apply the color profile in the camera calibration tab of the development module.

And unlike white balance, you don’t need to create a profile for every shooting. You just need to create one per light source, i.e. one for sunlight, one for tungsten etc. After importing the photos into lightroom, you apply the profile that matches the light situation to the first shot and then synchronize the settings. That’s it.

If you want more details, check out their website or have a look at this video, it explains the whole process.

Oh and here is what this little marvel looks like. And it even comes with a white balance card on the backside 🙂

xRite Color Checker Passport
xRite Color Checker Passport

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