Today we join New York-based photographer, Adam Lerner as he demonstrates why you might find a colour card useful and how to use it.


Today we join New York-based photographer, Adam Lerner as he looks at why you might find using a colour card handy and how to use it. As a seasoned Commercial Portrait and Fashion Photographer who shoots anything from Custom Motorcycle Builders, National Fashion Campaigns and CEOs, Adam says he uses the colour card mainly when shooting in studio.

He explains, “I shoot RAW, so it’s not necessary for me to set the white balance while I’m shooting because it’s so easy to set the white balance when editing, but sometimes, you may get odd readings and shooting reference shots with a colour card will help you to find a neutral setting. Once I get my lighting dialed in, I will have either my subject or assistant hold the colour card around chest level for my reference shot.

Whenever I shoot tethered, I want my white set for the images so that I can view them with a more accurate colour reading. Even though the camera in auto white balance does a pretty good job, there are influencing factors that can affect the reading. Different colour temperatures of ambient or artificial light, the type of strobes, speedlights you’re using are just a couple.”

He continues; “If you are shooting multiple scenarios, it’s a good idea to do a colour card reference shot for each scenario. That way, you can tweak each photo set accordingly both as you’re shooting and in post production. Even though I may have my neutral grey reference shots, I still may tweak the white balance either cooler or warmer, but it’s very helpful to have the colour card image as a starting point for setting white balance.”

For those of you who would like to see if the use of a colour card can help streamline your workflow, this one might be worth a watch. You can catch up with more from Adam on his YouTube channel, be sure to hit subscribe while you are there. Alternatively, visit his websiteTwitter or Facebook pages.