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CASE STUDY: Camera Calibration and The Editing Process

29 July 2019

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Are you in need of colour managing your workflow? Datacolor have released a new Capture Pro Bundle providing all the essentials needed to do just that. Photographer Olivia Bossert puts it to the test.

  

Olivia Bossert:

One of the reasons that I originally became so obsessed with photography was my attraction to colour. I grew up spending my summers in Ibiza, which if you’ve ever been to, you’ll know that the island is the epitome of “colourful.” Everywhere you look there is bursting colour; bright orange soil, deep green olive trees, turquoise sky and sea. Add to that the colourful array of fashion that people who live or spend time on the island wear, and you’ve got a feast for the eyes.

I’m originally from Switzerland, which isn’t actually known for being very colourful at all. I think it’s the stark contrast between the two places that got me so excited about capturing bright colour in my images. 

 

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© Olivia Bossert

 

From the moment I had a camera in my hand, I’ve hardly ever shot in black and white. An image comes to life for me far more when there is colour involved. When people ask me why, I truly do believe that my attraction to colour is so deep rooted in my upbringing. In a strange way, maybe I felt quite starved of colour in Switzerland, and took those blissful, hot Ibithenco summers as the main inspiration for the work that I now shoot. 

Obviously, as colour plays such a strong role in my work, I want it to be accurate. For a long time, I found myself feeling frustrated with the colours in my image. Why were they so far removed from the colours I’d seen in front of me at the time of shooting? Why weren’t they translating onto the screen in front of me?

 

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© Olivia Bossert

 

When Datacolor sent me their SpyderX Pro, and the rest of the SpyderX Capture Pro tools, a lot of this changed. First came the calibration of my screen, which I had done years ago, and never really thought to do again. It was complicated, took a long time, and I can’t remember seeing much of a difference to my screen. Oh, how things have changed!

The SpyderX intimidated me at first. I genuinely didn’t know what to do with it, or how to use it, but it was very easy to follow the instructions that came with the product. If you want even more help, just type the device’s name into Youtube and you’ll find dozens of up to date tutorials filmed by photographers from all over the world - I personally love these. I don’t consider myself a very “techy” photographer, so I loved that there was a really simply step by step guide to help me get through the calibration process. I was genuinely worried about ruining the colours of my screen, so knowing that I had the program helping me along step by step was reassuring.

 

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© Olivia Bossert

 

The calibration itself was really quick, which impressed me. Honestly, the speed of it simply means that I have no excuse to not calibrate my screens, and check up on my colours as I go. I rarely use screens other than my laptop and my desktop, but knowing that I could calibrate any screen going forward and keep my colours looking the same, means that I never need to worry about my images being out of sorts. 

As I mentioned, I really don’t consider myself very technical; things like this tend to scare me, and I don’t do them because of that. I hate that mentality, so I’m really glad that I pushed through it and put the SpyderX to use, because there was no need to be intimidated or worried. It was easy to use, fast, and literally guided me through the whole process. Calibrating my screen has made all the difference to my final images, my editing, and confidence in my work that my colours will hold up if I ever need to print anything. 

 

OliviaBossertPhotography 2 of 4

© Olivia Bossert

 

Aside from the SpyderX, I’ve had the chance to use a whole host of other incredible calibration tools; The LensCalibrator, The Cube, and the ColourCheckr. Before trying the LensCalibrator, I’d never actually calibrated any of my lenses before. Backfocus has always been something I struggled with - which can be very stressful when you’re shooting for a client and they need their clothes to be in focus for their campaign. After calibrating my lenses with the Spyder LensCal, backfocus doesn’t seem to be an issue. I’ll definitely be using it every time I get a new lens, or a new body, to make sure that everything is working in sync. 

 

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© Olivia Bossert

 

As for the ColourCheckr, I love how compact and stylish the whole package is. It feels more robust than just the pieces of colour card I once used, and I can keep it in my kit bag all times, ready to pull out whenever I need to. I shoot on location a lot, and with that comes a constant change in light and colour temperature. Using the ColourCheckr means that I can keep my whites as white as possible, whether I’m in the warm summer sun of Ibiza, or the cooler blue light of Cornwall. When it comes to editing my images after I’ve shot, I love that all the software easily integrates with Lightroom, making actually using the program seamless. I guarantee you that if I had to open up another program to calibrate my image, I probably wouldn’t do it… out of sheer laziness! 

OliviaBossertPhotography 3 of 4

© Olivia Bossert

 

As for the Cube, this little gadget might look like a random keychain to anyone who doesn’t know photography. I’ve used greybeards in the past, and they do the trick, but they can be quite fiddly, easy to lose or rip, and if you don’t hold them at the correct angle whilst shooting, your results can be totally off. The Cube is small, easy to keep in kit, and I love that it has a tripod mount meaning that it’s easy to drop it into shot if I’m shooting something like E-commerce. I don’t need to ask a model to hold it - it’s a quick drop in of the tripod, move it out of shot again, and it’s done.  

In the future, I plan to actually spend a lot more time in Ibiza, going back to the childhood holiday spots which inspire me so much. I want to explore the memories I hold so dear, follow my intuition and see what inspires me whilst on the island. I’m planning personal projects based on these childhood memories, and I know for a fact that the way the colours are represented in those images will be incredibly important to me. Thanks to the SpyderX Capture Pro bundle, I’ll be able to go away and shoot, knowing confidence that my colours will remain consistent, my lenses will be sharp and on focus, and everything will always be easy. 

You can find out more about the SpyderX Capture Pro on the Datacolor website: https://spyderx.datacolor.com/

PARKCameras - https://www.parkcameras.com/p/V158165X/colour-calibration/datacolor/datacolor-spyderx-capture-pro

WEX - https://www.wexphotovideo.com/datacolor-spyderx-capture-pro-1705252/

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