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Matching colour rendition between two photos

dominique.gascon

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Joined
Dec 20, 2020
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  1. Windows 10
I am in the process of scanning old colour photos and I encountered an interesting problem. In the middle of an event, I ran out of Kodachrome 64 and inserted a Kodak Gold 100ASA. The colour rendition of the same scene between the two films is shockingly different. The Kodachrome is more vivid and looks more natural. The most obvious difference is the wall colour (a golden yellow in the former), an ugly greenish-brown in the latter. The Kodachrome rendition seems closer to the original colour (even it is certainly not a perfect rendition), and closer to my recollection (that was 30 years ago) of the locale. Except for the film, everything else (camera, lens, flash, scanner, software) is the same.

Is there a way to make Lightroom match the colour rendition of a photo based on a sample from another. I used the Color grading wheel, for midtones to adjust using the wall colour as a reference, but it is difficult top predict where you are going to end up, and because the wheels on screen are small, a minute movement of the mouse has a significant effect. I managed to improve them somehow, but the result is oversaturated and too golden.
 
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Lightroom does not have anything automatic. What you could do is create a special profile for both films, using LUTs that you create in Photoshop. Photoshop has more automatic options, so creating those LUTs in Photoshop (and then creating a profile from it in Camera Raw) is probably a little easier than trying to match the colors in Lightroom. How to Make Custom Camera Raw Profiles for Lightroom & Photoshop

In order to make the profile work for non-raw images, in Camera Raw right-click on it while holding the Alt-key and choose ‘Rename Profile’.
 
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First let me say that Kodachrome is the only film that would bring me back to analogue photography, and I miss it terribly. Second, I agree with Johan regarding his solution; that is pretty much what I would do in the this circumstance. The differences between slide and negative formats to begin with are extreme, which was also part of the marketing and why people picked one over the other for the purposes at hand. All that being said, the better you scan them, the more latitude you'll have in making them match.

On a purely subjective note, I find that being pushed into an aesthetic corner because the limitations of a film or a file can be an opportunity to expand one's sense of what makes for an acceptable image.
 
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A short cut may work and not require LUT programming - but also may not do what you want. If you can find a color neutral object that appears in shots from both films (white table cloth on the same table?) you could try white balancing using the WB eyedropper on that object from a Kodachrome image and copy that WB to all the other Kodachrome images and then repeat for the Gold film images.

Another approach could be to open a Gold image in the develop module and use the "reference" image tool to bring up a Kodachrome image of the same subject matter as a reference. Then use the WB and Tint sliders (and others as well if desired) to visually match the Gold image to the Kodachrome reference. When done, copy the changes you made to all the Gold images.

May not be as accurate as a LUT, but may work for you.
 
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