Keeping Colors Consistent: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

in this video, I’ll show you the three simple steps I use to keep my colors consistent. Hello I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching AdoramaTV brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers and in this video, I’m going to share my three quick steps for getting color consistency in your photography workflow. Now you might think that means we’re going to go and take pictures and talk about cameras. We’ll get to that in a little bit but in fact step one of good color management starts right here inside of my small home office and it begins with a great monitor because if you’ve got a bad monitor, you’ll get no consistency. It makes it really hard and a good monitor makes life a lot easier. Now you want a monitor that will show you at least 100 percent of the SRGB color space. That’s the smallest one photographers tend to use and is usually absolutely fine but if you’re a serious photographer get something like this BenQ SW2700 that shows me 99% of the Adobe RGB color space which is much bigger. Now if you want to find out more about color space check out the Adorama Learning Center but whatever monitor you get, you’re not done there. You need to calibrate it. That means you get the very best out of the monitor. Now every month or there about’s, I’ll get myself this. This is little XRite i1 colorimeter and I’ll pop it on the screen and it will go through a series of color management steps to refine the color and get the very best out of this monitor. It does take a few minutes to go through so the best thing to do, is to let the monitor warm up, start this running and then you can go off and take some photos, which is exactly what I’m going to do right now. Step two of my color process is getting the colors right in camera. Now for this to work I need to take some pictures and to help me out with that, I got the amazing Beth! Beth’s going to be the model and as you can see, she’s wearing something bright blue and the background, we’re going to put some color on there as well, because I have a light behind Beth with a gel in it. Getting my colors right in camera means I’m going to set a custom white balance and to do that I need my color checker passport. So let’s grab that and I’ll open it up onto the gray side, so this is the side I’m going to use and I need to put this in the same light that’s lighting my model, so Beth can you hold that for me? Thank you very much. Making sure that Beth doesn’t put her fingers across the gray area, all I need to do is take a photograph of that. Now the process varies from camera to camera for my Olympus camera it’s really simple. I simply press and hold he OneTouch white balance button, fill the frame with the gray card and take a shot. I’m then ask to set a custom white balance, I’ll choose the default setting and that’s it! I’ve now set a custom white balance in camera. Now I am shooting in RAW so in theory I could do this later on but setting it in camera means that I can actually show my subject a picture that looks the right color because if you don’t do that, hey Beth what do you reckon of that? That’s what happens if you show them the wrong colored picture. Show them the right color picture and you’re on a good start to getting a good shot from your model. Also it saves you a ton of time in post-processing, if you’ve got your colors roughly right at this stage and anything that saves time is a good idea. Now it’s worth noting if you shoot with mirrorless cameras like my Olympus then the electronic viewfinder will probably show you the white balance you’ve just set, which is almost certainly the wrong color for the ambient light in the room. For example my video lights are a slightly different color to my flash, so when you’re looking through the viewfinder, don’t panic if the colors look a bit wrong just make sure they look good when you take the shots. The third step of the process is all about image processing but before we get onto my computer we need to take a picture of this, so this is the color checker passport fully opened up, so I can see the individual color swatches and the way this works is just like the gray card I give this to Beth making sure she doesn’t put her fingers across the front. There we go and I take a photograph of the chart in the same light that’s on the model, so this time Beth’s going to hold that right up against the face that’s lovely and let’s take a shot of that. Here we go! And that’s all I need! Once that’s done, I just load that into the computer and make a profile. We’ll get to that in a little bit and it won’t matter even if I change the color of the background light because once I’ve got this chart, I’ve got a complete color reference for the main light that’s lighting Beth and that color isn’t going to change throughout this shoot. So with the shoot done, it’s time to create a custom profile that matched the lighting, the camera and the lens that I was using in the shoot. Now from here on there’s lots of ways of going about this and it will depend on which system you use. There are plenty of profiling options around. I’m using the XRite color passport system, so I’ll use the color checker passport and the first thing I need to do is actually go and get one of my RAW files and bring it into Photoshop because that’s the software I want to use to make my profile and do my edits. So this is the RAW file that I have with the picture of the color checker passport and in fact what I need is this image saved as a DNG file and I’ll find that if I just go down to the Save button at the bottom of the screen and choose the the name as a file extension DNG. I’ll save it in the same location or at least in the desktop so I can find it really easily and that’s it, I’m done! So now if I jump back to my desktop, I’ll find that there is a DNG file. There it is. All I need to do to make my color profile is launch the color checker passport software and as it says drag and drop a DNG file there, so I’ll drag and drop a DNG file and just wait for a few seconds, and it’s done! It’s all automated, it crops it, it finds the squares, it does absolutely everything. I just click on create profile, give it a unique name for example Adorama test, click Save and that’s it. It saves as a color profile. Right we can close all that down now, go find the original RAW file and see how that affected the pictures. Now I’m using Adobe Camera Raw and by default I’m going to get the Adobe color profile, so if I drop that down and choose browse, I can come down to the profile button here and there it is Adorama test and if I go across between the Adobe version and my own created version, you can see how much more red those Reds are, have a look at Beth’s shirt as well, her blouse there is definitely more blue and then you’ll see the individual color swatches have all changed as well, so I’ll click on that to make that active, close it down and then that’s it, I don’t have to do anything else other than the usual editing of my pictures. Now how do I do this for all of my images? Because I took a lot of images during that shoot. Well we could batch edit everything. Bring them all through in one go, but because I’m using the same lights in the same room, with the same camera and the same lens, that profile is going to get used over and over again. This isn’t something you have to do on every single shoot. It’s just when things change. So for me, I’m going to come back to Camera Raw and choose this little icon in the top corner and set this as a new Camera Raw default, so every image I open up from now on, will have this color profile and that’s it. I’m done! I can make a few other changes but really all of my images now are going to get exactly the same edit and straight out of camera. They immediately look better. If you’ve enjoyed this video, don’t forget to leave me a comment below and if you want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters right here on AdoramaTV, you know what you got to do, you got to click on that subscribe button. And if you were to get notifications about the videos click on the bell icon too. I’m Gavin Hoey, thanks for watching.

64 Replies to “Keeping Colors Consistent: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey”

  1. Even if you are a pro photographer working for clients, what if their monitors are not calibrated? Aren't you wasting your time and effort when their monitors will be off? A wedding photographer for example, working for different clients who are likely to be viewing your work on their home computers. Also with editors doing color grading, what is accurate color and what is a look?

  2. Thank you for the very informative video. I don’t watch every Adorama video, but I do watch every Gavin Hoey Adorama video. 👍🏻👍🏻

  3. Truly useful information. The process is a bit difficult for a hobbyist like me, but when i need it i sill know hot to use it.
    One question. I find the tattoo on the girl's arm a bit distracting. What can anyone do before or after the shoot to make that mark disappear?

  4. The ink on her arm is new, isn't it ??
    To check it out I just went to the site of Beth. She is very versatile as a model, have look the link is in de description of this video.
    Excellent shots
    And great tut as usual from the also very versatile Gavin Hoey, Adorama's no 1 Photographer
    Thanks for sharing

  5. Thanks for the awesome video! And for shooting M43. It's nice to see videos using something other than Sony, Nikon, and Canon!

  6. Hi Gavin!) Imagine: 1- You have a standard high-quality flash then you don't need at all these processes 2- You use cheap and not consistent flash, then you should repeatedly use the color-checker card in ALL of your shots to get the same result. In brief, in this case, which you explain the unique solution is using high-quality flash and forget about everything expect to set the color balance to FLASH)))

  7. Thank you, Gavin, for another informative video done with your usual great positive energy! (Beth continues to look great. Really striking eyes.)

  8. Thanks Gavin for this update on calibration. It may be a bit off topic for your channel, but I would really like to see how you use monitor calibration to help you print your colour corrected photos. Cheers.

  9. That video was perfect for folks like me. A process I can actually put to use with a few additions to the equipment arsenal !

  10. Thanks Gavin! Your videos are the best.
    Do you recommend using the passport process for each unique shoot or location? I assume this isn’t done for each in-studio shoot, correct?

  11. For the sake of consistency, did you also prefer manual mode for this kind of studio shots, that means a fixed aperture, exposure and iso, beside the fixed white balance? Thanks!

  12. Fantastic model!

    I have profiles set for my cameras using a Whi Bal card , sun, flash, shade, incandescent. I dislike JPEG, but sometimes I want a photo as perfect as possible out of the camera ready for publication.

    I use the MacBeth color checker and create a color profile LUT by Adobe for each camera. PS is set to apply that profile anytime that serial # camera photo is imported to photoshop. Leicas are very close. Nikons and Canon get sort of orange flavored reds. The profile fixes this. The orange is seen is the Image comparometer if you look at the yarn samples.

  13. Srgb and Adobe rgb have the same amount of colour in there space. Adobe simply covers a larger gamut. If you colour correct to adobe rgb, then any Srgb device the image is viewed on will be incorrect and skewed. It should be stated clearly, 90% of all digital devices from televisions, monitors, mobile phones and printers are set to Srgb by default. That is essentially accepting 90% of devices are not going to display your colour calibrations and corrections properly. To illustrate my point, I just watched this tutorial on a 100% Srgb colour correct monitor, and your reds look flat and dull..they aren't in real life, but my monitor simply won't represent them until I switch them to a calibrated Argb display.

  14. Great video as always Gavin! I like your teaching style. And I really appreciate that you are one of the few YouTube photographers who regularly shoot Olympus cameras. That's especially appropriate for this video on accurate colours, because Olympus colours are legendary! Very "filmic". Gotta love that 12-40 2.8!

  15. Thx Gavin, great lesson! Easy to follow and understand!! I see so many never care to calibrate or possibly don't know how or don't have the charts or tools.

  16. Thanks Gavin, finaly a video with the the new camera raw converter and the exrite product .. since the new raw converter i hav had trouble where to store the color profile on my pc so the raw converter can pick it up and use it .. i am trying to see the path in your video .. otherwise super great videos .. looking forward to the next one ..:-D

  17. Unbelievable how much important information you can get in under 9 minutes ! One of the most helpful photography tips on YouTube. And it is free, too ! Thanks, Gavin, you rock !

  18. If you tilt the monitor back a touch the colorimeter will maintain a better contact with the screen and prevent it from dangling loose!! 😉

  19. HI Gavin, great video. One question, I have a Datacolor Spyder5Pro for monitor calibration, but I was thinking of get the x-rite color checker for color profiles. Could you please confirm I can do that ? thanks

  20. Hello Gavin,

    Hope you're doing fine.
    Can you please confirm the type of the mmonitor you're using (BENQ SWU 20 700)

    Kr, Marc

  21. As usual great work Gavin. Always fun to watch your videos.

    I am all for the best monitor and all but the reality is these days, most people view photos on their screen. Be it a phone, a tablet, laptop or a desktop the sheer variations of colors and screen quality makes our careful color adjustments almost futile. When going for a print copy then it is essentially a matter of matching the screen to a said printer. That can be done with just about any half decent monitor (I have a simple Dell U2713HM and the Canon Pro-100 and the match very well.).

    I don't have a 4k but a few weeks ago I had an opportunity to play around with one (LG). I did some light editing in Lightroom and the overall experience was really great. It was so much fun working on such a vivid monitor. Then I uploaded the edited photos to Pixieset and viewed it on my humble office screen. Of course it did not matter anymore and the same photos corrected on my computer looked the same. The thing is, that is the case with most of my work (and everyone else's, it is viewed on phones, tablets and such.

    A good screen is great to work on or view movies and play games but when it comes to color correction, it is null. The results of our hard work are as good only as the screen the photos are viewed on and not the screen the photos were edited on.

  22. Thank you for this Gavin… correct me if I am wrong please… would this be a “must” when taking photos of models but highlighting their clothes????? Thank you

  23. Hi Gavin, I sometimes take photos with my Canon 5d Mark II of pink and white flowers but when I check the photos on the computer the Pinks look like blown out reds? Do you know the reason for that?

  24. The comment is a bit late, but Thanks. My budget is low but I love taking photos. A monitor for that cost might be a little bit out of my reach, do you have alternativ?

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