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Help! iPhone Reference Color and Exposure work flow - photos of hay for sale must be accurate!

duke

New Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
2
Lightroom Version
Lightroom 3.2.1
Operating System
macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS
I am a professional videographer and sometimes photographer who has been hired as a side job by a hay exporting company to help them produce accurate photos and videos of the hay they sell to overseas purchasers. Typically the purchasers fly here locally and visit the farms and hay bale stacks and lots to inspect the product prior to purchasing. Due to Covid-19, no travel will be happening this year - so all product inspection will be by photo primarily with some video. Color and exposure/dynamic range must be near reference/real quality so as to not over-represent nor under-represent the quality and characteristic of the hay. Greens, yellows, and browns are hypercritical to determine the difference between a $2,000 lot of hay and a $20,000 lot of hay.
There will be 6-8 agents in the field visiting up to 15 lots each, taking approximately 10 photos of each lot. So 1200 photos perhaps each day. They are hay people and not techies, nor artists. This needs to be a solution for one year, and so they don't wish to invest heavily in photo gear nor are they interested in becoming pro photographers. They all have iPhones ranging from 8 to X. They will take the pictures, I will post-process them, and make them available the next day.
I figured a Lightroom subscription would allow them to take DNG photos which would take out the aesthetic processing of the apple camera app to get an untainted image which would upload to the cloud, and I would have one location in which to post-process them, then make available the next day through a storage server they own.
My questions:
1. Sanity check: is this the correct solution or should I be looking elsewhere?
2. I have a Xrite Colorchecker photo 2 on the way (my Colorchecker video passport doesn't seem to play well with Lightroom and Xrite color checker software). My current plan is to have each agent take a couple photos of the Colorchecker photo2 and I create a profile for each device to use as an export filter in Lightroom. This is based on this blog post: Accurate Colors from an iPhone Camera with ColorChecker Passport - X-Rite Photo Blog - Anybody have experience with this? Seem like it will work ok?
3. The biggie for me - direct sunlit hay photos tend to have highlights that make the hay appear to have more yellow/white characteristics than what is seen my the human eye which decreases the perceived value of the hay considerably. Would HDR photos in Lightroom tone down the highlights? Is there a way for me to process the photos without seeing the source hay to a proper exposure level?

Here's a couple jpgs exported from dng files as samples
https://flic.kr/p/2iWqNxJ https://flic.kr/p/2iWsmFL
Anything I'm missing? Any information I left out?
Thanks in advance for your time and any help you can offer a fellow lenser.

duke
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,211
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
This is a tough one for a solution. Phones are not color managed and you are going to have problems with appearance in different lighting. Probably the same bale shot at the same time with different phones will yield different results. For any hope of success, you are going to need the Macbeth color chart in every photo. You can process the photo for matching the Macbeth Color chart.
The second problem that is seen is variations in light and shadow. This is apparent in the photos that you included. Look at the hay that is in shade vs. in sunlight in the SAME bale. Bright sunny days will give different results on the same bale take in overcast, high noon or golden hour photos.

Hay quality is more than just appearance. The trained observer can make nuanced allowances for difference in color under different lighting conditions. I think in addition to photos you are going to need other factors that the trained observer may factor in such has moisture content, nutrient analisyses etc.
 
Last edited:

duke

New Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
2
This is a tough one for a solution. Phones are not color managed and you are going to have problems with appearance in different lighting. Probably the same bale shot at the same time with different phones will yield different results. For any hope of success, you are going to need the Macbeth color chart in every photo. You can process the photo for matching the Macbeth Color chart.
The second problem that is seen is variations in light and shadow. This is apparent in the photos that you included. Look at the hay that is in shade vs. in sunlight in the SAME bale. Bright sunny days will give different results on the same bale take in overcast, high noon or golden hour photos.

Hay quality is more than just appearance. The trained observer can make nuanced allowances for difference in color under different lighting conditions. I think in addition to photos you are going to need other factors that the trained observer may factor in such has moisture content, nutrient analisyses etc.
Thank you for your response!
The xrite Colorchecker Photo Passport 2 was my plan for the color matching. I understood Lightroom can create a camera profile based on a couple photos of the color checker in different lighting conditions - at least different white balance conditions. Perhaps we will need to consider having the colorchart in frame for every photo?

The light and shadow consideration is significant, as you stated. Would you think the colorchecker card with its white and gray chips be enough to reign in highlights and compensate for shadows? Would shooting in HDR mode in Lightroom help or hurt with that, do you think?

And well said on the quality of hay. There are more product details that come in the purchase process which include protein content tests, moisture, etc. My participation in this process would be considered something similar to creating the catalog photos - the first step in the purchasing process. A bad catalog photo in either over- or under-representing the product will make subsequent steps more difficult.

Do you have any other recommendations for handling the workload of this size?

Thanks, again, for your time and attention,
duke
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2007
Messages
22,625
Location
Isle of Wight, UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
The xrite Colorchecker Photo Passport 2 was my plan for the color matching. I understood Lightroom can create a camera profile based on a couple photos of the color checker in different lighting conditions - at least different white balance conditions. Perhaps we will need to consider having the colorchart in frame for every photo?
You'd need Lightroom Classic for that really. Doable with the cloudy desktop app combined with the DNG profile editor, but easier with the Classic desktop app.

Clee, I had no idea you knew about hay!
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
3,114
Location
Boucherville, Québec, CANADA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Perhaps we will need to consider having the colorchart in frame for every photo?
With 1200 photo/day, that would be unmanageable as you have to create one profile for each target photographed (no easy way to find the needle). The nearest you can do is to have a photo of the target for each iPhoneModel/Lighting condition. You will definitely need to have your photographers stick to a given standard; always photographing under shade my be one of them.
 
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