Hi everyone and welcome back!
In this final article I explain the editing part of the process. This part of the process is the same regardless of the light source you use or your particular setup, so I hope you will find the information useful even if you prefer doing things differently than I do.
The following is a list of the individual steps one by one. Feel free to use it as a reference if you’re just learning the process.
- Transfer images to your PC.
- Use Adobe DNG converter to convert the image of your calibration card to .DNG file.
- Drag and drop the converted .DNG file into Color Checker Passport software.
- Export a .DCP profile and name it properly so you can easily locate it.
- Start Adobe Lightroom and import the whole photoshoot.
- Open the calibration card image, the .CR2 file, not the .DNG one.
- Set the following parameters: camera calibration profile, tone curve to linear, brightness & contrast, clippings on – set exposure & black, curve parameters – lights & darks (optional).
- Synchronize with the rest of the images in the shoot.
- Rotate & Crop.
The first step after transferring our images into the computer is to convert the image of the calibration card into a .DNG file. The conversion is necessary because the Color Checker Passport sofware only reads .DNG files. We only need the one image converted, not the whole shoot.
Color Checker Passport Profile
Now that we have our calibration card in a .DNG format, we can import it into the Color Checker Passport software. Simply drag and drop the file into the CCP window and wait for it to detect the card.
Once the card is properly loaded click “Create Profile” and save it. I add a date to the file name so I can always identify which profile belongs to which photoshoot. I also store one copy of the profile directly in the photoshoot folder as a backup so it’s always available and easy to find.
If you have trouble locating the default folder where CCP exports files I include the path here: C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles\.
Adobe Lightroom Import and Edit
Now that we have our Calibration profile ready, we can launch Adobe Lightroom and import the files. Once the import is complete, we need to select and edit the image of the calibration card. This is the one we are going sync with the rest of the images in the shoot after we adjust it. Remember to check if you edit the correct raw file from the camera, the .CR2 file (or .NEF in case of Nikon cameras) and not the .DNG profile itself.
First, we need to select the profile we just generated from the Color Checker Passport on the Camera Calibration tab.
Next we want to set the Point Curve to Linear on the Tone Curve Tab.
Then we need to go to the Histogram tab and turn on the clippings for our whites and blacks. We do this by checking the two little boxes on top left and right. This is going to show us when we start loosing detail in our lights and darks. This is illustrated by red color for whites and blue for darks.
Next we make sure the Brightness and Contrast are set to 0 on the Basic tab. Now we start moving the Exposure slider on the Basic tab to the right (while checking the card image) until the two white squares on the card start getting red. This means we are loosing detail in our lights. We don’t want that and so we only bump the exposure until the square starts turning red. A little bit is okay but don’t overdo it.
Now we do the same for Blacks. This time, check the two black squares on the card, they shouldn’t turn blue.
After finishing your edit you may find that some final tweaking of the overall values/tones is necessary. It depends mostly on your particular lighting setup. I find that my mid-value range is a tad too light and so I adjust my Lights and Darks on the Tone Curve tab. Do this only if you are sure you indeed need further adjustments.
Once we are done with the editing, we need to select all of the images in the shoot and synchronize them with the one we just edited.
After having our images synced, we go through them one by one and with the Crop & Straighten tool rotate and crop them as necessary.
Export Profiles and Settings
I have several profiles for export. Images published on my blog have different size than the ones in my portfolio. For print, I need different export settings than for publishing on the web. They use different file format, color space and resolution.
These are my basic settings for web publication. I shoot for relatively large resolution and small file size (around 500 kilobytes) without compromising the image quality too much.
Publishing for print is considerably different from publishing for web. We need file format that can handle higher bit depth. We also export the image in AdobeRGB color space and use higher pixel density of 300 PPI.
I hope you found the information in this series beneficial. If you have any questions, leave them down below and I’ll be happy to help you out further.