22 January, 2016

Color Accuracy for ID Photos

One of my main photography goals is color accuracy . I like my photos to look natural, as it was, and helpful for ID purposes. Three things I do:

  1. Keep my monitor calibrated - I use a Spyder tool, made by Datacolor, similar to this model, which is the updated version of mine: http://goo.gl/6AkKpv
  2. If I remember (I'm doing a pretty good job remembering these days!) I use this SpyderCube tool: http://goo.gl/ldTn2 If you look at the last photo of this set (http://goo.gl/BKr226) you'll see the SpyderCube "In action" next to my mushroom. This will be used as an aid during processing in Adobe Lightroom. Sometimes when the lighting conditions make "Auto" or one of the white balance camera presets look "Off" I use the camera LCD and the "K" (Kelvin) setting on my camera; I adjust the temperature until the cube colors match in the LCD view.
  3. In Adobe Lightroom I crop the photo so it's tight around the cube. I try two things and choose which one looks better to me. The first thing I do look at the Temperature & Tint my camera chose as a reference (I usually will have it set to AUTO white balance, but with RAW it's easy to change; my Canon 5D Mark II usually comes close). Then I select Adobe Lightroom's "Auto" white balance; LR usually makes things a little warmer than my Canon. Sometimes it's better, but sometimes it's not. The next thing I do is use LR's dropper white balance tool. I click on the grey part of the cube. It has been my experience that this last thing I do is what I stick with more often than not. Once in awhile I go back to one of the other settings, and then sometimes I fine tune the color by hand (temperature & tint). So, even though I use the automated tools, I still make plenty of decisions about color and what looks the most accurate.

The final thing I do is compare the color on my Android phone and iPad. I like to check how the color compares on different devices; hopefully it isn't too different! If it is, it would mean that a display's color calibration is off.

Posted on 22 January, 2016 04:00 by torres-grant torres-grant | 1 observation | 10 comments | Leave a comment