summary Colour determination may be precisely performed with spectrophotometers, however this technique is time consuming and requires special devices. The aim of this study was to determine the correlation between the colour measurements performed on three shade guides of the same manufacturer, obtained with digital and spectrophotometric analyses. Sixty shade tabs of three shade guides were analysed to determine the L*, a*, b* values with a spectrophotometer. The same shade tabs were also imaged with a digital camera, and same colour parameters were determined on the digital images with the software. Three measurements for each shade tab were made with both methods. Statistical differences between the results of two methods were determined using anova (α = 0·05). Additionally, presence of any correlation between two methods within each guide was investigated by using correlation analysis. It was observed that the a* and b* values obtained by digital method were correlated with those of the spectrophotometer. Spectrophotometric analysis revealed no disparities among the L* measurements of the shade tabs of three shade guides (P > 0·05), but significant differences were observed between the L* values of the shade tabs with digital analysis method (P = 0·000). The digital method formed more subgroups than the spectrophotometer. For a* and b* values, both methods revealed significant differences among the shade tabs (P < 0·05). Additionally, both analyses revealed that colour characteristics of the first shade guide was different than the other two. The results obtained by digital method were correlated with those of the spectrophotometer, especially for a* and b* values.