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Gear & Apps

Why You Should Use A Color Chart & How to Use One

By Kishore Sawh on December 22nd 2016

If you are serious about your photo/video work but neglecting color calibration from capture to post you’re robbing your work of its full potential, which is, of course, tantamount to your potential. Granted, it can be a bit finicky at first, a bit annoying, and it isn’t sexy, but but it’s mission critical, and the tools and systems out there are making it easier and better than ever. Ergo, there are no excuses not to use them.

[REWIND: Spyder5Studio Review | Getting Your Images Color Controlled From Capture To Print]

We’ve yammered on about calibrating your monitors numerous times, and while we’ll still continue to do so, it warrants saying that capturing/color calibrating from capture is also extremely important, albeit more or less so depending on the purpose of the imagery – if you’re shooting a lifestyle shoot or portrait for fun it won’t necessarily be critical that the colors in the pictures are accurate representations of the scene, but say you’re shooting for a clothing line or products, you’ll need to get the colors of the items spot on. A solid choice of tool for this job? Datacolor’s SpyderCHECKR, with its small and mobile form factor containing 48 color squares and requisite software.

You can approach something like SpyderCHECKR on a basic level where you can get it in frame without any crazy software manipulations and just use it as a gray card, but you can really dive deeper and use it to help you set profiles, and frankly a lot more, and in the video below Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens does a nice overview of the tool’s capabilities, and how it can be implemented on set, within a tethering situation, and a glance at the software. Check it out below, and you get get a SpyderCHECKR here.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. James Ogden

    Good advice. I still have not calibrated my monitor but do shoot with a X-Rite Color Checker and it works great. Prints come back great.

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  2. Dave Lyons

    On the safe side I will carry a bag of grey cards. Quick, easy & free gray cards can be had by going to walmart’s paint section and grabbing some sample cards in seal gray ;)

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  3. William Emmett

    I’ve been using a X-rite Color Checker Passport for years. I even use it on my shots of birds, and other nature, mainly to get the light, and colors correct. But first shoot a gray card for basic light calibration, and then shoot the color checker, using RAW.

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