Most face databases are meant for pattern recognition use. We report the creation of a unique face database which may be used for color-related studies of faces. We describe it as physics-based because it not only contains color images but also data on color image formation such as spectral reflectance measurements from facial skin, illuminant spectral power distribution, and camera spectral response. We demonstrate the usefulness of the database by an approach we developed to color correct face images taken under different illumination conditions. © 2000 SPIE and IS&T.