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Date Created: 9/14/2009   Date Modified: 4/11/2019

+Camera Calibration and DNG Profiles

It all begins with the camera. If it doesn’t capture accurate color, how can you expect realistic reproduction?

The challenge lies in the fact that different cameras “see” color differently, and the way they capture it varies from brand to brand. Different lenses have different color characteristics, which creates a bigger problem when you start mixing camera and lens brands. But the truth is, even two camera models from the same manufacturer can capture colors differently. Custom profiles will reduce the differences so they behave more alike. Adobe calls these profiles DNG profiles or Camera Profiles and they are selected in the Camera Calibration sections of their Camera Raw and Lightroom software.

Creating a custom white balance with the ColorChecker White Balance target will ensure you’re starting with accurate color. Shooting a physical reference will make color corrections quicker, plus allow you to assign them to a large batch of images for greater productivity. Before you know it, you’re working in a color-managed workflow.

Anyone who shoots color critical work, including studio product photography, fine art reproduction and high quality portrait photos, can benefit from color management. Photographers who shoot large numbers of images on various cameras - weddings, youth sport teams, yearbooks, and organization photo directories - will especially reap the benefits of consistent color across different cameras.

Cameras that capture JPEG can benefit from improved in-camera white balance with ColorChecker targets for further color fine-tuning, but cameras that shoot in a Raw format can benefit even more from custom profiles.