Today I picked up an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. This is a little gadget and an accompanying software package that is designed to help you get accurate colors for your photos. I think it will be more useful in studio situations than in the field under gym lights, but it was a bit of an eye opener from the first time I used it today.
The basic premise is that when you have new and unfamiliar lighting, you shoot a copy of the Passport. Then you feed this into the software, which analyzes the Passport (since it has known color values) and it will create a Camera Raw profile specific to that device and the lighting that it was shot in.
I set it up in my studio, aimed one Alien Bee at it, and checked the metering with my light meter (f/7,1, ISO 200, 1/200 shutter). I used the grey card panel of the Passport to set a custom white balance on my camera, then took a photo of the Passport with a Nikon D4 set according to the light meter. Fed it into the software to generate a profile, then imported it into Lightroom to play with various camera profiles. The photos attached here show the various changes.
The main thing I noticed is that the Adobe Standard profile, in this case, seems a lot closer calibrated to the Passport than the “Camera Standard” profile. Since Nikon RAW files do not have their scene mode recorded in a way that Lightroom can use, this was kind of interesting to me. I know that Adobe makes the “Camera Raw” settings for each camera, but their “Camera Standard” is very unsaturated and kind of drab compared to the other two. I personally think the Passport-calibrated version looks best of the three and most accurate to what I was shooting.
Tomorrow I’ll try it with a real person, and we’ll see what happens!