Capturing accurate color during a photoshoot regardless of lighting conditions is an incredibly important skill set for a professional photographer. It’s especially important when you’ve been hired by a client to capture images. A wedding client won’t want photos where their pristine white dress has an orange color cast. And a large brand will likely be turned off if your photos aren’t accurately capturing the colors of their products.
While programs like Photoshop and Lightroom make it possible to fix it in post, you will save yourself a lot of headache by using this pocket sized color calibration tool. While color calibrations tools have been around for a long time, they’ve seemingly become less popular with the rise of digital photography. Ultimately though having one in your tool kit can be incredibly helpful.
Wedding and portrait photographer Vanessa Joy demonstrates how she uses the Datacolor SpyderCheckr tool to ensure that she is maintaining consistent colors during her photoshoots.
Step #1: Place the opened Datacolor SpyderCheckr in the frame
If you are shooting portraits you can have your portrait subject hold the Datacolor SpyderCheckr in the frame, if you are shooting products you can have an assistant hold it near the product. When handling the color calibration tool be careful to avoid touching the individual square color panels, since dirt and oil from your fingers can end up affecting the tones on the product. Make sure that the SpyderCheckr is completely open and appears very flat when you take your first picture. Once you’ve captured the color calibration tool in a single frame you can close the case and continue shooting. Repeat this first step as you change locations or lighting setups.
Step #2: Crop the photo with the SpyderCheckr
Once you’ve finished your shoot import the photos into Lightroom. Here you will make a cropped in version of any of the images that include the Datacolor SpyderCheckr so that the product fills the frame.
Step #3: White balance and adjust light and dark tones
Once you’ve cropped white balance the image in Lightroom then set the lightest part of the image to be RGB 230 and the darkest part of the image to be RGB 10.
Step #4: Open in the SpyderCheckr software
Right click the image in Lightroom and select Edit in SpyderCheckr. Once the image is opened in SpyderCheckr you will want to drag the square overlay to match up with the colored square tiles in the image. Try to get the square overlay as close to the middle of each box as possible. Save the color calibration to Lightroom.
Step #5: Relaunch Lightroom and apply calibration
Relaunch Lightroom and you will be able to find your new color calibration preset under User Presets. Then apply that new calibration to all of the images in each lighting scenario for consistent color for every single frame.