Why Using A Color Checker Card is Important in Photography.
One of the most important elements to photography next to light is making sure that your color is right. To do that a Color Checker Card is crucial.
Yes even for black and white images for the smart asses who were going to mention that. After all black and white as it relates to photography and how we interpret images are colors.
Having proper color in your images to begin with is going to save you a lot of time and headache.Especially if you’re planning on printing your images. “But DJ; what does it matter since I’m just going to edit it in my photo editing software.” Cue the NCIS Gibbs style head smack.
Even though you’re planning on working on your images after you shoot them, doesn’t it make sense that you have to know what color you have to begin with.Or; what if you notice a color cast that you need or want to get rid of before sending your images off to the printer. But how do you ensure that you have the proper color in your images?
You use a color checker card at the start of your shoot. And every time your light changes; or you start a new look.The chart’s color patches have spectral reflectance intended to mimic those of natural objects such as human skin, foliage, and flowers, to have consistent color appearance under a variety of lighting conditions, especially as detected by typical color photographic film, and to be stable over time.
Proper use of a color chart can get you a lot closer to actual colors and save you a lot of time dialing in your post production work by adding a simple step to your work flow.A couple years back I pickup the X-Rite ColorChecker Card and by doing so I have saved a ton of post processing time.
During each and every shoot I take one frame before we begin, as a measure of the light temperature and proper exposure with a color checker chart.
By doing so, I have saved countless hours of not having to wrestle with white balancing when sitting down at the computer to process after the shoot.All that is needed to do to give your photographs a collective white balance is to load of the test shot in in your editor, select the white balance tool and click either one of the middle grey squares.
The two squares are close in tone but vary from your light source so I typically bounce between the two looking at which represents the correct color. From here you can copy that setting to your photographs and head off to your next step of processing.One thing to remember is to try to keep your fingers off of the color squares.
The oil from your fingers will rub off on the squares and compromise the quality of the colors.
Oh; it is critical that you make your models/subject make funny faces while they hold the color checker card. It’s a great way to break the ice; especially if your subject is new to being photographed. But we really do need to make sure we are using the correct tools for the job; and an x-rite color checker card is one of those tools.
I hope that this information helps you. If you have any further questions leave a comment below.