Color Profiles and Camera Profiles
Once we are in a situation where we want to calibrate our camera, we have to decide whether we're gonna create a calibration for that light source or whether we're going to create a general calibration for our camera. And I'm gonna go through the process of a general calibration because that's probably the thing you're gonna be most interested in. If I do a calibration for this particular light source, let's say these lights here in the studio, I'm gonna take one picture of this with those lights and then I'll use that as the calibration for this. And then anything that I take in this light will be perfectly calibrated. Blue will equal blue, red will equal red, et cetera, et cetera. So, the problem with a camera, and this is every camera, doesn't matter whether it's a Fuji, a Nikon, a Canon, a Sony, every camera has a different color definition. So, each one of these colors on this chart is defined differently by different cameras, and not only is it Canon versus Nikon, Canon versus Ca...
non, every single Canon camera slightly varies these color definitions because they make a new sensor. So, that sensor that they're creating is essentially just a bunch of pixels that are reading something and depending on what year that sensor was produced, even if it's a Mark IV versus a Mark IV, that could slightly alter. So, you never actually know whether your camera is reading correct color until you scientifically calibrate it. So, what we're gonna do is we're gonna take two pictures of this, not just one, because we want to have a general overarching calibration for your entire camera. If we just do it for one, it will be good for the light that we photographed in, that particular light source. Daylight or tungsten light or incandescent, sorry, CFLs, whatever. So you choose the light source, you can do one photograph, and then calibrate, and your camera will be good in that light source. But we are going to make what is called a dual illuminant profile, two different lights, and we wanna choose two lights that are very different from each other so that our calibration tool can actually spread across the entire system. So it can say, okay, really cold light and really warm light, and what are those? So, incandescent or candlelight or something like that, that's really warm light. And then very cool light, the bluish light is shade. So, the coolest light I can get on a regular basis is shade, shadow, and the warmest light I can get on a regular basis is usually incandescent light. So I'm gonna take a picture of a color checker in both. Then I'm going to bring them into Lightroom just like I would normally. And so you can see that I've got one here. That one is an incandescent light. And then I've got another one here and it's outside in open shade. So I've got cool light and I've got warm light. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go into the grid inside of Lightroom and I'm gonna highlight both of those images. And you can see that I don't have to be super perfect about it but I do need to make sure that it's in focus, that it's generally square on, which is why this thing opens up into like a little folded so I can set it. And then I can shoot at a 45-degree angle and hit it square on. So, I'm gonna set this up or I could have my model hold it if I want. And it's going to look, so there's a plugin that comes with the ColorChecker Passport, and it's going to look for this color checker, and it knows what the color checker has on it. It knows what it's supposed to be seeing when it's looking at turquoise and blue and red and pink and orange and all those colors. And so, it's going to read both of these for warm light and cool light, and it's going to combine them together and say, what is the color response or the definitional issues that this particular camera sensor has? So, I highlight these two and I go up to, and this is assuming that you've installed the Lightroom plugin for the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. So you go up to your Export, or down to your Export menu and when you do that, there is an option here at the very top for Hard Drive. Instead of Hard Drive, you wanna go down to X-Rite Preset. And on the X-Rite Preset, it's pretty simple, all I need to do is name the profile. So, I'm going to name the profile, and we're actually shooting with, oh, I need to figure out what we're shooting with here. This is a Fuji. I'm shooting with a Fuji camera here, so I'm going to export this and I'm gonna call this the Fuji xT, oops, xT3, and then I'm gonna put a little note after it that it's a dual illuminant. So, I'm gonna call it a Master profile 'cause a Master profile covers you all the time, in most cases. So this profile that we're making is going to be the definition of your color for almost every photograph you take. It will make the colors right. So, for instance, the photograph I took of the ball game with my iPhone, I calibrated exactly the same way. I took a picture with my iPhone of a ColorChecker Passport in cool shade and in tungsten light and I created a Master profile for my iPhone. And if I apply that profile to every image, I will have accurate color, in most cases. Once in a while, it's, you know, might, full light or something, but that's always the case. Okay, so I do a Master profile and I'm gonna call this shade and tungsten, so ST, shade, tungsten. So now I know it's a Master profile all the way from shade to tungsten. Then all I have to do is hit Export. Now, I'm not gonna hit Export because I've already done this. I already baked the lasagna. But I'm just gonna hit Export and it's going to go through a process for about a minute or two and it's gonna combine all it knows about this color and create a set of definitions. So your camera sees these colors one way, Lightroom sees them as a completely different way, and it's gonna make the translation so that red equals red when it comes in the door, okay? So, I'm gonna hit Cancel because I already have that profile, and I want you to see what happens. So, this photograph was also taken with a Fuji and I want you to watch these colors change 'cause I'm gonna go into the Develop module and show you, once you export it, you don't even have to do anything, all you have to do is restart Lightroom and the profile will be installed inside of Lightroom and also inside of Camera Raw. So, inside of the Develop module, if you go over to the right-hand side panel, you'll see that there's an Adobe Color Profile attached to this image right now. So, Adobe sees red and blue as a certain type of red and blue. But if you go to this little set of square boxes over to the right-hand side and click on it, it will open up a Profile browser and you'll see that right here, I have one that's called, it's in the Profile section, so there's Adobe Raw, there's Adobe Camera Matching, these are all things that kind of Adobe's making their own versions of things, and then I go to the Fuji T3 Master, and watch the colors change. So, if I hover over this, it will change the colors. It will show you what it will look like if I click that profile. So, I'm gonna hover over and then go back and you're gonna see, do you see those colors changing? See how the blue gets richer? What else changes there? So, the blacks get a little bit brighter, the reds get a little bit more saturated, the purples get more saturated. See that happening? Now, if I were to go up to what Adobe thinks it should be, here's Neutral. That's, like, limited color spectrum. Here's what it does for portraits. Not a lot. Here's what it does for Standard. Here's what it does for Vivid. Look, it really pops those colors out. So, all of these profiles that we can attach to an image are just simply defining color. They're saying this color should be this color, all right? So, that's our first step to defining color. So if I click on it now, anything that my Fuji shot color-wise is going to be converted to the correct colors. Okay, so now, we are going to go from there, we need to start talking about something else because now you're gonna start making assessments. So, you're gonna come into your images, so let's go to a set of, and you can see here, by the way, look at this. This is an entire set of ColorChecker Passports for a Nikon, for a Canon, for another Canon, and also for, what else is in there? Anyway, there's four different cameras, right? And once you do all that, each camera looks different. You notice that, right? Your friend shoots with a Nikon, you shoot with a Canon, and your colors are kind of softer, flesh tones, and theirs have a little bit more magenta in 'em. You're seeing all these color differences. Well, I wanna show you something. So, here, can you tell me which camera shot what? The only one that you can really kinda get into is this third one because it was shot with the iPhone, so it's a little sharper in the background simply because it's such a tiny lens, but you've got four different cameras and four of them and they all look pretty similar, and that's because each one was calibrated for a dual illuminant situation. So, you can have a Master profile on each of 'em. If you apply the Master profile on each of 'em, then the colors will be the same, the color response will be the same on each. So, here's a really good example. One shot with a Canon and one is shot with a Nikon, and you can see that there's a little bit of a difference in the yellow. See that? So, if I then apply a profile, then the yellow will go back to, they'll end up together. And that's the same thing that you were learning here. Just by simply calibrating your camera, you end up with a better shot even after the fact. So, you don't have to take a photo of this before you take the pictures. You just have to take a picture of it some time between shade and tungsten, and then you can go back and reverse engineer all your images and add color definitions to all the images from that particular camera, and you just do it for every camera you own. Takes about 10 minutes maybe per camera to do it. And then from then on out, and here's a little secret I'm gonna teach you. So, what you're gonna do is you're gonna take an image. So, I'm looking at Nikon right now. So, this is a Nikon image, and I go into the Develop module and I go to the Profile. You can see that it's the Nikon D810 profile, which I created, and it's right there, and now, all I'm gonna do is I've applied it. And what you really wanna do is you wanna reset the image so that it's perfectly neutral, so that it's all exactly right, except for you want to go in and choose your Nikon D810 profile. And then you wanna come up to, and if there's other things that you do to your images, like let's say you always like to bring the saturation down a little bit, you generally like to bring the shadows up, you wanna bring the black down, you wanna add a little bit of contrast, whatever it is you normally do, don't play with the temperature or tint at this point. Leave that alone. You want that to be as shot. Then you're gonna go up to the Develop module and you're gonna set the default setting. If you set the default setting, then Update to the Current Setting, what will happen is every time a Nikon D810 image comes in the door, it will apply the D810 profile to it and all of the slide adjustments that you've just made. So, all of your images coming in the door, every time they come in, will have the correct profile associated with it. And the only time you'll ever need to change the profile is if you want to do something different to it, but at least you'll know that the color is accurate, generally speaking, for all light sources. And then later on, if you're, like, in a really tricky light source, you can always take another picture of ColorChecker Passport, create a specific profile for that photo shoot only and apply that to all of them just by simply highlighting everything and clicking on that profile, and then the light will be perfect for that specific situation. And I'll tell you a story. At one point, I was shooting a wedding and there was a cake that was on the table and I couldn't tell what color it was because it had a red light, theater light, coming down on it and it had destroyed the cake. The cake looked horrible. But I had no idea what color the cake was. I would shade it with my hand and I couldn't figure it out. The bride was beside herself because it was so ugly, but they couldn't get up there with a ladder and change it during the wedding. And so, it was just what it was. It looked fine during the day but at night, it was a red, bloody, gross cake, right? Turned out, it was yellow. It was a beautiful yellow cake. How did I do it? I took a picture of this, then I took a picture of the cake. When I got back, I made a profile for that specific light, everything's fine. So she got photos of this beautiful cake, never was able to see it herself, but she saw it in the photos because I calibrated based on that one weird light source.