The Color Checker Passport Is Your Friend

Never Leave Home Without It

Accurate colors when photographing high end, luxury real estate and luxury architecture is critical. Accurate skin tones and accurate color is a must when photographing executive portraits and headshots. To ensure accurate skin tones and material and design color I always take my Color Checker Passport with me to my shoots. Before the Passport was around I took a large 8.5 x 11″, clunky and often damaged Gretag-Macbeth Classic or Original color checker with me to my luxury real estate shoots and portrait sessions. It was oversized and difficult to bring outside of the studio, and it came in a paper cover sleeve that always got torn and was easily bent.


The old school Classic – aka Original Color Checker


A few years ago, along came the Color Checker Passport a scaled down version that is protected in its own hard plastic, clam shell, case.

Before each executive portrait and headshot session I do some test shots. When there’s no assistant to stand in for me, I’m the test dummy. I want to make sure two things are just right. 1) Make sure the lighting is dialed in perfectly. And 2) take a test shot with my X-Rite Color Checker Passport. This will ensure that after the session post production is sped up by not having to guess about the color balance. Instead, I click on the grey patch {at the very bottom} just to the right of the white square. This neutralizes the image of color casts and typically dials in a pleasing skin tone. I’ll occasionally need to tweak the image a bit, by warming it up, or cooling it down and sometimes removing some red from a ruddy complexion. Its a bit pricey at $99. But I’ve had it for a few years now and look at it as a necessary tool, which its still in pristine condition due to the hardshell plastic case.

The Color Checker Passport Is Your Friend

The new improved smaller and mighty Color Checker Passport.



Here’s what I like about it.

  • One click color correction. Mostly. Sometimes, It needs to be dialed in and tweaked just a tad
  • Grey card included on the flip side for custom white balance
  • Software included to create a custom camera calibration {from the Color Checker Passport desktop application} and store it in Adobe Lightroom
  • 5 x 3.5 inches in a hard palstic case
  • Compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Compatible with both PC and Mac
  • Takes the majority of guess work out of color correcting skin tones and color management
  • The clam shell is hinged, can easily be stood up without any propping, and put into any architectural scene for capture to ensure accurate color rendition.