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Taking Complete Control with a Color Checker

There are instances where the adjustment of white balance may not remedy shifts in colors during a photo session. Photographers that need to make sure that the color that they display is as faithfully recorded as possible, and they rely on the calibration of the image against a series of pre-produced squares of color, usually called a checker. A color checker provides a set of known reference colors. By mapping these colors to your software, you can ensure that you have the most accurate color possible.

While this system has been around for a while now, it’s gotten easier to do with automated software – such as x-rite’s Color Checker Passport (see Figure 12).

Figure 12

Figure 12 The x-rite website

The idea is simple: After installing the software onto your computer, simply take a shot with the ColorChecker present in the picture (see Figure 13) and convert it to a DNG. You can convert your RAW files into Adobe DNG files with the free DNG Converter available from Adobe.

Figure 13

Figure 13 Model holding a ColorChecker passport.

After converting the image, simply start the ColorChecker Software and drag the image into the program. The software will look for the checker in the picture and draw rectangles around the portions of the image it believes the color squares are present. Once that’s complete, all you need to do is click on the Create Profile button. In a few seconds, it will build an accurate color profile (see Figure 14).

Figure 14

Figure 14 Saving the calibrating profile

Once that’s complete, drag your raw image into Photoshop to open it in Adobe Camera Raw. In the Color Calibration section, you will see a new selection under the Camera Profile drop-down, with the name of the profile that you created in the previous step. At this point, all you need to do is click on the profile, and your color is automatically and accurately matched (Figure 15).

Figure 15

Figure 15 The corrected image via the camera profile in Camera Raw

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