Question about Color Checker and white balance

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
I'm photographing some documents. Which white balance should I use, landscape or portrait? Neither seems right. They both come across as a little too warm. Or does the color checker have another option for white balance.

It all depends on the color of light you use. If you use 6000 K lights, set the camera for 6000K in manual mode. If your lighting does not have a controlled color, you can calibrate your camera to match it using one of the tools like the x-rite color checker passport. That creates a calibration valid for the lighting conditions used for that specific case and sets Lightroom to make the corrections as the photo is imported. Otherwise, with Lightroom, you can also manually set the color adjustments made on import to suit your taste.
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CR Pro
Jan 25, 2017
*smirk* landscape or portrait.. documents should be in portrait layout ;-)... sorry couldn't help self.
Those are colour profiles btw, not white balance (tungsten, daylight etc). As Mt Spokane indicated it depends on the lights you're taking the pics under. As for colour profiles, use standard colour profile or use monochrome? they're documents after all. Or take in RAW and change the color post to suite your needs.

an all in one scanner might be more useful for consistency.
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I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
As Mt Spokane says, make your own custom WB. Indeed if you have a color checker I'd make a custom profile and WB and then you are accurately replicating the color of the documents and any stamps or ink on them too.

What they then look like on your monitor depends on the calibration of that. The images can be neutrally white balanced with custom WB and profiles but still have a color cast if your screen temperature or calibration is off.
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EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
Or does the color checker have another option for white balance.

There are different version of the X-Rite ColorChecker, or from other brands. Usually they have some neutral gray patches which can be used for post-production white balance.

Other products may be used for in-camera white balance before shooting - using a "white" (usually a very light grey) larger patch.

Some products like X-RIte Passport include different types of patches, including the white balance ones. There are other products with only white/grey surfaces for white balance only.

Products like the ColorChecker beside white balance comes with software (or can be used with) that lets create a specific camera profile for a given illumination taking into account not only the spectrum reflected by a "white" patch but the behaviour with a number of different target colours - to try to deliver a more precise colours output. This requires anyway a fully calibrated workflow to be really effective.

For B/W documents, and anyway where colour match isn't critical, a simple white balance is enough, otherwise creating a specific profile may save a lot of post-production time.
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