X-rite Passport question.

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
1,759
Irving, Texas
Never have I ever used my X-Rite Passport, though I have had it for about 5 years. Since I shoot portraits I have been thinking of using it. My questions are:

1. Do I need to use the card each time I change the flash power?
2. Does the white balance card make a big difference? I have just been changing white balance until the person or scene look "right" to me.
3. Do you use the color checker also? Again, I change luminescence, colors until they look right.

I use Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop CC.

I know these questions probably sound stupid to some of you who have been using the passport for a good while. However, I really am ignorant when it comes to this. It will be quite the hurtle for me to learn this. I have a hard time processing new information and putting it all together.

Thanks!
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,580
152
Those cards are useful to try to get an "exact" color match. More important when you have good reasons to achieve it - i.e. a portrait for a makeup maker customer who wants to see their exact shade of red for a lipstick ad. For example I met a photographer who worked for Ferrari, and they were very demanding about the cars red to be the "exact" one. In many sectors where designers go a long way to select specific colors for a product, they want them to be shown in photos to be used to promote the product.

They also help to process a large number of photos quickly, as the matching becomes automatic, and photos shoot under different light conditions can be made coherent quickly.

For other kinds of portraits, it may be less useful, although can be used to get a good starting point to work from. With PS and LR, you can also use it to make specific color profiles for your camera and light conditions.
  1. Depends on the flash, and how much the power is changed. If the flash cannot deliver a constant enough light quality, it may be needed. You have to experiment.
  2. It makes a difference when you need an "exact" white balance, not one that looks "right". Anyway, the card has also squares to achieve cooler/warmer ones, still different images can be matched to the same one.
  3. Like 2. When you need a match as much close as possible to an "exact" one, not one that looks "right".
I have the Passport too, and use it only when I feel I need it. For example a few months ago I was photographing old train models for a site, and I wanted to show the "real" colors as much as I could - about a set of passenger cars, there's an old debate about how much they matched the real train colors. So just trying to make them "looking right" was not enough, even if my system is color profiled and calibrated, still I don't have an AdobeRGB monitor yet, and I don't trust my eyes too much.

Remember, anyway, that X-Rite warrants the Passport for just a few years - for very "exact" and demanding matches, they would like you to buy a new one every time it has "expired".
 
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Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
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I use mine all the time and LOVE it, one of the most important things I have bought for IQ.

no, you do not need to include it in every shot. I do one for each light scenario. So I have have one for my Broncolor light with Broncolor boxes, some boxes might color the light a bit, so for unoriginal boxes, I would make one for each. Also very important is to create one profile for each lens and body combo.

the built in WB card I don’t really use, it’s too small, I have another one from Lastolite. But, it’s also two neutral wb sample squares on the CC itself.

the good thing about the grey scales are that you can warm and cool the wb without creating weird color shifts.

crucial tips;

keep the iso at 100, no matter what, introduce noise on the CC shot and it’s useless.

even light is essential, watch the black plastic around the squares, don’t have one corner or side bright and the other dark.

never ever touch the squares with anything and keep it closed as much as possible. They do have an expiration date .
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
1,759
Irving, Texas
Those cards are useful to try to get an "exact" color match. More important when you have good reasons to achieve it - i.e. a portrait for a makeup maker customer who wants to see their exact shade of red for a lipstick ad. For example I met a photographer who worked for Ferrari, and they were very demanding about the cars red to be the "exact" one. In many sectors where designers go a long way to select specific colors for a product, they want them to be shown in photos to be used to promote the product.
I use mine all the time and LOVE it, one of the most important things I have bought for IQ.

no, you do not need to include it in every shot. I do one for each light scenario. So I have have one for my Broncolor light with Broncolor boxes, some boxes might color the light a bit, so for unoriginal boxes, I would make one for each. Also very important is to create one profile for each lens and body combo.

the built in WB card I don’t really use, it’s too small, I have another one from Lastolite. But, it’s also two neutral wb sample squares on the CC itself.

the good thing about the grey scales are that you can warm and cool the wb without creating weird color shifts.

crucial tips;

keep the iso at 100, no matter what, introduce noise on the CC shot and it’s useless.

even light is essential, watch the black plastic around the squares, don’t have one corner or side bright and the other dark.

never ever touch the squares with anything and keep it closed as much as possible. They do have an expiration date .

Remember, anyway, that X-Rite warrants the Passport for just a few years - for very "exact" and demanding matches, they would like you to buy a new one every time it has "expired".
Thanks guys! All of it is very useful information. I hadn't thought of many of the things you've mentioned at all.

I do have a need to use it. The charity I volunteer for showcases not only models, but also designers, make up artists, and hair artists. So matching colors for that, at the least, is important to me. That is also where I get a few paid shoots, now and then, after a show or model boot camp. One designer flies in from Ireland each year and her work is especially colorful; very graffiti style.

In the portraits I do, skin tones would be important also. Sometimes they match what I remember seeing, sometimes not at all. Some people just take very good photos and some don't. I don't have any idea why.

I assume that it would be especially important under mixed indoor lighting? Most of my problems occur then, it seems.
 
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Kit.

EOS 6D MK II
Apr 25, 2011
1,419
799
I assume that it would be especially important under mixed indoor lighting? Most of my problems occur then, it seems.
In mixed indoor lighting, if you need "exact" color match you will need different color correction applied to different parts of the same image. Color checker card will be of little help.
 
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LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,580
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I assume that it would be especially important under mixed indoor lighting? Most of my problems occur then, it seems.
Depends on how you use mixed lightning. As Kit. said, it could become tricky. But if for example you have a clear separation, i.e. the main subject lit by flash, and the background by ambient light, you can use the card to get the "right" colors for the subject and let the background appear warmer. But if you get for example a mix of incandescent and fluorescent light, and different part of the subject lit by different sources, it can't help much.
 
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CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
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Irving, Texas
Depends on how you use mixed lightning. As Kit. said, it could become tricky. But if for example you have a clear separation, i.e. the main subject lit by flash, and the background by ambient light, you can use the card to get the "right" colors for the subject and let the background appear warmer. But if you get for example a mix of incandescent and fluorescent light, and different part of the subject lit by different sources, it can't help much.
That's what I needed to know concerning that. Thank you very much.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,245
799
If you have mixed lightning you hold the passport in exactly the same spot you’re focusing on, it will be a lot better. You can also look into Dual Illuninant profiles, can be very handy.

but, I must admit, sometimes there’s just too much mixing of light going on, and then you’re probably better off using Adobe Standard or Adobe Color. Like the wedding I did a few weeks ago, large projector screen showing a slideshow, small led’s on a string across the tables, fluorescent from the roof, accompanied by hanging bare bulbs that changed continuously in a rainbow pattern. Candle lights on the table , yellow walls and bouncing daylight. That was fun :ROFLMAO:
 
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LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,580
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Really? I'll have to check that out.
Of course you can do it with any WB target - follow your camera instructions. Basically you need to take a shot correctly exposed of the target under the required light, and tell the camera to use it to compute WB.

It may help especially with very warm or very cold light conditions.
 
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CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
1,759
Irving, Texas
Of course you can do it with any WB target - follow your camera instructions. Basically you need to take a shot correctly exposed of the target under the required light, and tell the camera to use it to compute WB.

It may help especially with very warm or very cold light conditions.
Thank you
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,358
331
If you have mixed lightning you hold the passport in exactly the same spot you’re focusing on, it will be a lot better. You can also look into Dual Illuninant profiles, can be very handy.

but, I must admit, sometimes there’s just too much mixing of light going on, and then you’re probably better off using Adobe Standard or Adobe Color. Like the wedding I did a few weeks ago, large projector screen showing a slideshow, small led’s on a string across the tables, fluorescent from the roof, accompanied by hanging bare bulbs that changed continuously in a rainbow pattern. Candle lights on the table , yellow walls and bouncing daylight. That was fun :ROFLMAO:
uhm, I would shoot 2 stop under for the ambient light and +2 stops Flash compensation. makes the ambient light to become a non issue. dark background may be an issue potentially but can be dealt with in post. My clients much prefer natural skin tones to well lit backgrounds :)
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,245
799
uhm, I would shoot 2 stop under for the ambient light and +2 stops Flash compensation. makes the ambient light to become a non issue. dark background may be an issue potentially but can be dealt with in post. My clients much prefer natural skin tones to well lit backgrounds :)
When it’s 4 meters to the ceiling and a very long set table flash is almost needed to be directed forward, and that equals horrible light and/or black outside the flash range. And I also wanted to keep the very nice light that came from the tables etc so completely overpower everything with a flash wasn’t really an option. For birthdays I do what you suggest, but then it’s a much smaller room and only light from outdoors and ceiling makes it A LOT easier. Thrown on a CTO and darker background doesn’t matter all that much.
 
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CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
1,759
Irving, Texas
uhm, I would shoot 2 stop under for the ambient light and +2 stops Flash compensation. makes the ambient light to become a non issue. dark background may be an issue potentially but can be dealt with in post. My clients much prefer natural skin tones to well lit backgrounds :)
Thanks for a very helpful tip. :)
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
1,759
Irving, Texas
When it’s 4 meters to the ceiling and a very long set table flash is almost needed to be directed forward, and that equals horrible light and/or black outside the flash range. And I also wanted to keep the very nice light that came from the tables etc so completely overpower everything with a flash wasn’t really an option. For birthdays I do what you suggest, but then it’s a much smaller room and only light from outdoors and ceiling makes it A LOT easier. Thrown on a CTO and darker background doesn’t matter all that much.
I need to study the uses of CTO gels more.
 
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privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
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I don’t understand why that would give you natural skin tones, it flies in the face of what ETTL II is doing and depending on actual EV would result in a 2 stop over exposed subject.

of course nobody knows the true details of ETTL II and there is a movement of exposure bias depending on the EV. The only reliable way to shoot in mixed lighting with flash is to go manual everything. In dynamic situations, like receptions etc, ETTL II works remarkably well, but for set up portrait shoots ETTL II is unpredictable because of its proprietary nature.

uhm, I would shoot 2 stop under for the ambient light and +2 stops Flash compensation. makes the ambient light to become a non issue. dark background may be an issue potentially but can be dealt with in post. My clients much prefer natural skin tones to well lit backgrounds :)
 
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Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,245
799
I don’t understand why that would give you natural skin tones, it flies in the face of what ETTL II is doing and depending on actual EV would result in a 2 stop over exposed subject.

of course nobody knows the true details of ETTL II and there is a movement of exposure bias depending on the EV. The only reliable way to shoot in mixed lighting with flash is to go manual everything. In dynamic situations, like receptions etc, ETTL II works remarkably well, but for set up portrait shoots ETTL II is unpredictable because of its proprietary nature.
Agreed, last time I tried ETTL was with the Profoto B1 when they claimed it was SOO good, but reality is, move around and take 15 shots waiting for the perfect expression and the light was absolutely all over the place. Indeed one of the reasons I went for Broncolor, no TTL based communication that’s seriously prone to bugs and errors and the epic consistent light and color output. Manual everything for me when using lights (y)
 
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CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,173
1,759
Irving, Texas
Agreed, last time I tried ETTL was with the Profoto B1 when they claimed it was SOO good, but reality is, move around and take 15 shots waiting for the perfect expression and the light was absolutely all over the place. Indeed one of the reasons I went for Broncolor, no TTL based communication that’s seriously prone to bugs and errors and the epic consistent light and color output. Manual everything for me when using lights (y)
Same here as far as ttl goes. Manual everything.