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How to Use X-Rite ColorChecker Passport in Lightroom CC

Photo Moment - May 24, 2019

If you're using Lightroom CC (actually… as of last week it's now called just “Lightroom”, but it was called “Lightroom CC”, to separate it from “Lightroom Classic”, which at one point itself was called “Lightroom CC”, but before that it was just called “Lightroom”… um…) and you used to create custom color profiles with the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport using the super-convenient plugin for Lightroom Classic, then you know that since Lightroom still doesn't support plug-ins, so that workflow still isn’t there.

Fortunately, there's a workaround. It does take a few steps, but they're easy enough to complete!


Here's the short version of what you have to do. I'll detail each step below.

  1. Export a RAW photo of the ColorChecker from Lightroom 
  2. Convert that RAW file to DNG using the Adobe DNG Converter [download here for free]
  3. Open that DNG in the ColorChecker Camera Calibration app and save the resulting profile [download here for free; click the Training & Support tab]
  4. Import that profile into Lightroom and apply it to your photos
  5. Check white balance (if needed)
  6. Copy profile to all related photos

Why profile in the first place?

If you're wondering what this is all about in the first place, the purpose of this exercise is to normalize the colors in an image so they all match an accurate standard. This is not important to many photographers, but if color accuracy is critical to your workflow (for example in product photography, you usually need the product you're shooting to be accurately represented on screen and in print), then this process is super important. Taking a photograph of a known-accurate color chip chart, in this case the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, then letting software automatically build a profile to shift the colors your camera captured to the colors that the chip chart is known to be, creates an accurate representation of that product.

Creating the profile in Lightroom used to be a one-click process. But for now, it requires several extra steps.

Need a ColorChecker Passport (Photo Edition)? Get yours here!

Step 1 — Export the RAW photo from Lightroom

The actual step one is to photograph the ColorChecker in the first place. Ideally you've photographed this in the same environment, under the same lighting, with the same lens (and it has to be the same camera or this is pointless) as the photos you want to attach a profile to. This can be done under any lighting conditions, and to be truly accurate about it, as you change environments you should shoot another calibration photo. 

The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport PhotoThe X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo

You do NOT need to do any editing to the photo first. If you do, they will be ignored. Even if you need to adjust your white balance, you'll do that later.

In this tutorial I'm using photos from a recent client shoot for EarthMonkeys, a plush doll sold on Amazon. The client of course wants the photos to represent the real product as accurately as possible. No, we can't control what other people's screens look like, but by providing a photo that's calibrated, we're at least uploading an accurate image to Amazon.

To export the RAW photo(s) from Lightroom, select the image and go to File > Save To… then change the file type to “Original + Settings”, and choose a location. You'll want to put it in a folder because the DNG Converter wants to read the contents of a folder, not a single file. I made a “DNG” folder on the Desktop.

Export a RAW image from Lightroom to a folder on the DesktopExport a RAW image from Lightroom to a folder on the Desktop

Next… convert RAW to DNG and create the color profile!


Do you need to make a profile for each photoshoot you do, or will one profile work for every picture taken on the same camera?
I do it for every shoot where I want to profile. Keeps things tidy.
Could this be used to create a custom profile or preset for my camera and lens to help calibrate my photo shoots? I'm trying to figure out a good way to do this since Lightroom doesn't have the proprietary info to de-mozaic the RAW Sony files as correctly as the Sony software.
@@photojoseph As for camera, I'm using the sony A7IV.
Sorry, I meant a preset or profile I could use in Lightroom to use when I upload my photos. Instead of doing something like first loading into Imaging Edge and letting that program decode the raw file correctly, then exporting as a TIFF to edit in LR or PS. I wasn't meaning a profile I could use in camera.
Any change in-camera would only be applied to the JPEG, but most cameras don’t have custom camera profiles beyond tweaking contrast / saturation / etc. in the profile settings. Newer LUMIX cameras have a feature called “realtime LUT” that lets you load a custom LUT to the camera and apply that to the photos, but again that’s only to the JPEGs.

That said, incorrect demosaicing can’t be fixed with adjustments. Is this a new camera that Adobe doesn’t support yet? If so you may need to use the Sony app until it does.
Do you think Adobe will ever add it to CC? I’m so frustrated having moved away from Classic to simplify my life, and purchased the checker just assuming it would also be in CC. Adobe add all the lovely AI tools lately but this is even more crucial in my opinion, as it is for my Videos in Davinci. Thanks for a great Video !
@@photojoseph great idea! I was just researching if there was another piece of software I could easily do this with pre importing into Lightroom CC. Your process is great but just wondered if there was a simpler way, nothing yet and I’m doubtful I’ll find another simpler way. I’m not lazy, just really disappointed as this makes such a huge difference to my photos and videos since getting the cards :-) thanks for the quick response
No idea if it’s even on their radar. I would suggest filing feature requests and asking everyone else to. Ask them on twitter too; they are very responsive there.
I understand the DNG process but my Sony exports ARW files to Lightroom. Will the DNG Color Checker file still work or do I need to save as an ARW file like my camera outputs.
DNG is a universal raw format developed by Adobe. The dng converter converts any raw file to DNG.
That's not way to do it, just select file>export with preset>ColorChecker Camera Calibration
You do know this video is four years old now… software changes in that time
Thank you!!
I only use Bridge Camera Raw then photoshop- can i do it with those instead? I can't be arsed to learn and use Lightroom, it pissed me off as it saves files weirdly. Maybe I did it wrong, but i much prefer Bridge for file organization
Brilliant concise and excellent pacing. Thankyou
Super useful!! I had stopped using my ccp because I prefer LRcc than classic and now I can use it again! Tested the process and worked like a charm!!
Thank you. I was stuck. I love they added the dang export option to Lightroom cc.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I just bought my colorchecker passport and now I think it's the best investment ever! Saving me so much time on colour and white balance adjustment (and won't be able to do it as good as it does)
there are no degrees Kelvin! it's just kelvin you should know that's the basics
@@photojoseph no degree, easy.
You’re wrong, but that’s ok. It’s an older name but I’m an older guy, so there you go.
Thank you!
Hey Joseph, great video! Mine has the issue that it gives a slightly green tint over my image… are you familiar with that issue?
I haven’t seen that but to be honest it’s been ages since I’ve done this. I haven’t done any commercial photography necessitating the color card in a long time!
Typical Adobe - always shutting out other companies utilities from their software! I’ll stick with a Raw to DNG converter and LR5 thanks!
Hi I'm Joseph, I'm using Ipaf pro work Lightroom for ipad. And I can't find where the DNG converter is, could you please sent me a link to the converter for iPad please? Or let me know how to do it on ipad x
you are a master of master
☺️ Thank you
May i ask, do you create camera profile everytime you move location or when light changes?
At the basic level, you want to have profile for specific camera a specific lights - so if you have your own atelier, and use the same lights and same camera, you are good off with just one profile. If you want to get as acurate as possible, create profile every time you go for a shoot.
I am be a dummy LR blows my mind
Thanks man!
Great video, thank you so much. It's very easy to follow.
Best explanation ever !! Congrats
Does the camera profile aspect only work/run on Apple computers? I'm a pc / Davinci guy.
How do I get the software/plug in (calibrite passport software) into my lightroom software? I'm so frustrated....
My question is, do I have to do this for every single shoot?
@@photojoseph Thanks so much for that.
every environment (location, light) and lens and camera, yes. That's the point; to calibrate to a common base line no matter the setup. This is most commonly used in a studio environment where color matching is critical, or to balance different cameras.
Excellent Thank you
You’re welcome!
He talked too fast, therefore I had to look for another clip.
🤷🏼‍♂️ or you could have YouTube play back at 0.75 speed
When we import the custom x-rite profile and apply it, does it also correct the white balance, or only the color tones?
Do I have to create a colour profile every photo session (because each session will have a different light), or shoud I do this only once and it will work forever in every future photo session?
Lighting changes colors, so yes, doing it under any new lighting situation is the right way to go.
Great video man. I bought the colorchecker 2 years ago and it about time to start using it.
Amazing. This video is so clear and concise. Thank you.
But the imported profiles cannot be deleted, so soon you will have too many… at least, I couldn’t find a way to delete. Went back to LR Classic.
Thanks a lot man!
Thank you! I have been needing to get better at using this with the pictures I take as a sports photographer. This helped make the process much faster.
Awesome Bruce, thanks for letting me know!
Helpful, well explained tutorial, thanks a lot Joseph.
Thanks, Joseph, for a well explained tutorial. I know this x rite software software only works with a raw or ding file, but could a jpeg that’s been converted to raw/ding also be used?
I have the same question 🤔
Hi Joseph, for some strange reason after I successfully import the profile, I can't find it under the ''profiles'' menu, its simply not showing there. I run the latest LR 4.3 and I have no clue why is that so, its been couple of days im stuck with this problem, any idea what could be the cause? Many many thanks. Bruno
Do you need to use the color checker every time you shoot a client or do you just shoot it in studio and use that once you integrated it in lightroom?
As far as I know, it is used once in each camera
I cant find the X-Rite software anymore. Is there an updated link for it?
Hello Joseph. I found this extremely helpful! It saved me a ton of time (I hadn't realized that CC didn't support plugins, and would have been lost after that). I followed your procedure a couple of times, then realized you can export as DNG (from Lightroom) and go straight to X-rite's ColorChecker. Does the extra step you follow (export as "Original + Settings", then convert to DNG) yield a better result? I did compare both and the differences were not noticeable to my eye. Thanks!
When I did this video, there was no export to DNG option (you can see in the video that JPEG and ORIGINAL were the only choices). Now that it’s there, this saves a step!
Hope you see this in 2021, can’t get Lightroom to restart
Contact Adobe
I'm a little late to the party but this helped me tremendously. It wasn't easy, though. I have a new Color Checker Passport Video and the squares were all lined up in the color swatches but it could not save it. I tried several times and re-shot the checker again. Fortunately, I have an older Color Checker that I hardly ever used and tried it and it worked perfectly. It seems like the video version should work the same. The color boxes are the same. Anyway, very nice instructional video.
@@photojoseph Yes, I had a Passport that I used for photography that is a couple years old and had not been using. It works, so that's a good thing. Thanks for the reply.
Definitely! By "older" you mean the photo one that you already have, right? Because the design for photo and video passports has not changed, as far as I know. It's just that photo and video are different.
@@photojoseph I’m glad I hung onto the older passport. Thanks.
Ah, but the video one is totally different than the photo one. That’s why it didn’t work. Different layout, and different colors.
bad tutorial
Excuse you?
Is it possible to shot with my fuji xpro 3, create the profile and apply it to the Lumix g80 pictures? Would the picture look the same? Thanks.
Ah ,nope. That’s not how it works :-)
@@photojoseph Thanks Joseph. But only for RAW Files. I had a thinking error. I wanted the JPG-Look/Picture Profile from Fuji on my Lumix-Pictures
That’s the idea. They would at least have the same colors.
So how to add an X rite i1 profile to photoshop 2020 ?
You just helped me so much!!! Thank you tons and tons and tons!
Thank you!
perfect tutorial! step by step, clear, practical, thank a lot :) just wondering why do you use Lightroom Mobile (Lr) on your computer rather than Lightroom for desktop (LrC)? although LrMobile is easier and match interface for iMac and iPad both, but is there any difference between them? any advantages for professional editing for Lr VS LrC? please advise.
@@photojoseph as I know Working on iMac or iPad both are updating and recording on cloud and available everywhere, no difference!
Because of the cloud storage — all my photos are available everywhere.
Thanks for this tutorial, which is great. Unfortunately the newest version of ColorChecker 2.2.0 does not work with the newest version of Lightroom. Importing color profiles doesn´t work and throws an error when trying to import. Any idea why this doesn´t work ?
Hi can you help, this doesn't work for me! I get to the Import Profiles stage, and select my .dcp file, but then it says no profiles found and doesn't import it? any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
I really have no idea… but I know this still works as I just did it a couple of weeks ago. Re-download the apps to make sure you have the latest versions, and try again, is all I can suggest. Sorry!

Hi joseph, nice tutorial. I have problems with my colorchecker. the program creates the wrong color profile, especially the reds and blues. I shot with nikon d850 in nef and lossless compression.

Oh no, that's unfortunate. I'd contact X-Rite, as this sounds like a pretty specific issue.

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

I have the 2019 version of x rite colorchecker and I use lightroom classic cc, latest version 10.1.1
I tried using Adobe DNG_Profile_Editor and it seems to recognize colors well.

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