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Colours perfect

Posted on Feb 22, 2019

A colour-managed workflow saves time, money and stress, meaning what you get is what you see and that, for photographers, is the ultimate goal. We take a closer look at the X-Rite ColorMunki Photographer Kit, which aims to help you achieve perfect shots time after time


Every photographer knows the importance of colour management, yet many consider it a dark art and skirt round the issue, leaving it to chance or just putting up with poor results. But the reality is that getting a fully managed colour-perfect Raw workflow, from initial capture through to final printed image, is easier than ever with no special skills or expertise needed.

The ColorMunki Photographer Kit comprises its Display calibration kit and ColorChecker Passport Photo bundled into one box. The box is about 10% cheaper than when the items are bought individually. And it gets even better, because X-Rite has teamed up with Serif to include a free licence for Affinity Photo, a powerful image editing software for Windows and macOS, within the kit. This usually retails at £48.99.

Your colour-perfect workflow starts at the beginning at the point of capture and this is where you need the ColorChecker Passport Photo outfit. This comprises software and three photographic targets, presented in a protective hard case and is so compact that it can be left in the camera bag ready for use whenever the situation demands.

It is worth noting that the Passport is not only for different lighting situations, because your camera and lenses can also impact colour accuracy. You may have two cameras of the same brand – and they can deliver different colours, too.

The three targets are: the Creative Enhancement Target, an exposure checker and a white-balance adjustment tool; the large White-Balance Target for ensuring neutral shots in your workflow; and the classic industry standards 24-patch colour chart for checking and fine-tuning colour and creating custom DNG profiles.

The Passport is simple to use. All you have to do is take test pictures of the targets in the same light as the subject is receiving before getting on with your actual pictures. When the lighting changes, repeat the test shots.

For the ColorChecker Passport software to recognise that the target is in your picture, it needs to be reasonably sized in the frame. If you are taking a half length or head and shoulders portrait that is easy enough, just ask the subject to hold the chart up facing you. It is the same process when photographing a group, but take a step or two forward or zoom in to make sure the Passport is a decent size. With a building, a landscape or an interior, just hold the target at arm’s length and take a shot. Whatever the subject, this is a test picture so you don’t need a perfect composition, just a sharp shot in the same light as the subject, ensuring the target is not reflecting or obscured in any part by fingers or shadows.

Once you’re at the computer, open up Passport Checker images in your editing software and assess the results. Changes such as white-balance and exposure tweaks made to your test shots can then be quickly synched to others in the same sequence. The Classic Target lets you evaluate specific colours, but there’s more because with the ColorChecker Passport Photo software you can create your own DNG profile of that lighting situation and for your camera.

The ColorChecker Passport Photo helps you capture and edit accurately, but it only takes you part way on the colour managed workflow journey.

For the next step, enter the ColorMunki Display, a powerful device to ensure your monitor is correctly calibrated to a professional standard. It is easy to use and can be used on several monitors or a projector.

The ColorMunki Display’s software features a wizard-driven interface with easy and advanced modes, as well as one-click presets so you can quickly and easily achieve consistently accurate on-screen colour. Key features include Ambient Light Smart Control, Automatic Display Control, and multiple monitor profiling offering. It also suits the latest LED and wide gamut models. With two key colour management devices, the ColorMunki Photographer Kit is a compelling addition to every photographer’s creative armoury.

On offer
The ColorMunki Photographer Kit is on special offer for a limited time. It currently costs £184.50, a saving of 10% compared to purchasing the products individually. To make it even more enticing, X-Rite has teamed up with Serif to offer a free licence for Affinity Photo for macOS or Windows, worth £48.99. The professional image editing software focusses on workflow. Affinity Photo offers sophisticated tools for enhancing, editing and retouching your images in an intuitive interface, with all the power and performance discerning image makers demand.

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