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White balance and color control with the X-Rite Colorchecker Passport greycard
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X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

The right colors [Part II]

By: Thorsten Overgaard. January 13, 2012. Latest edited May 29, 2019.

The X-Rite Color Checker Passport
for getting color photography right

The X-Rite Color Checker is a slow tool, but usefull tool, to getting the colors right in digital photography.

Managing colors in images has a lot to do with setting the White Balance (WB) right. This should be done manually before the shoot so that the image is right in the camera (though many camera producers, software producers and even white balancing grey card producers advertise the idea that "you can fix everything in the computer". For more on the simplicity of adjusting the white balance in the camera using a WhiBal greycard or a piece of white paper, see the page white balancing with the WhiBal greycard

The X-Rite ColorChecker
The X-Rite ColorChecker card. They don't grow on trees, it's just that there wasn't any blonde girls nearby to assist in holding it.

This page is taking it a step further, with adjusting the overall colors of the image using the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport card.

For a Leica M9 owner there is not so much gained as for a Nikon and Canon photographer. The reason - I guess - is simply that Leica Camera AG has always aimed for the natural look of colors and preferred natural look and aristic qualities higher than advancing in megapixels and ISO speeds.

The Lightroom Survival Kit

In any case, in this short video I go over how to use the X-Rite ColorChecker with Adobe Lightroom, how much it does for the Leica M9 images, how to use the X-Rite Color-Checker for adjusting the white balance to a warmer or cooler look.

The X-Rite ColorChecker also contains a field of neutral grey for setting the White Balance.

Lik to the Thorsten Overgaard skintone adjustment mentioned in the video.

I should note that X-Rite recommend that you create a camera profile for each light condition (you can imagine or that you camera has of presets) so as to create, save and use a camera profile for each light condition.
I recommend to use the X-Rite for each important shoot where colors are very important, and create, save and use that profile for that exact shoot.
For Leica M9 photographers there seem to be not very much gained in using it generally. But you will have to try that for your self and judge if that is true for you or if you feel you can gain better colors using X-Rite for all or most of your images.



    Thorsten Overgaard




My Robin with the white balancing card of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. When you flip the page you get the Macbeth colors.

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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish born multiple award-winning AP photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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