White Balance

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Farktographer 7 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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  • #2527

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    OK… I’m trying to figure this out. I know it’s important, and will make it easier to make my pictures look the way I want them to.

    But, I quite literally have zero idea where to start or how to make any decisions.

    I’m using a Nikon D5000, for those of you willing to help.

    For the purposes of this exercise, any assistance should be phrased in the form of simple sentences and easy to follow directions. I really have NO idea where to begin, and complex stuff assuming I know what you’re talking about will only be confusing.

    Thanx mucho!

    #43877

    Choc-Ful-A
    Participant

    My suggestion is to shot in raw mode, then convert the “NEF” files to PNG after uploading them to your computer. The conversion tool I use is “ufraw” and it will let you tweak the white balance in the process, as well as make other adjustments if you like.

    #43878

    caradoc
    Participant

    Yugoboy, I understand that you’re asking about white balance, but what’s the question? Are you trying to set a custom white balance, set the correct white balance for lighting conditions, or what?

    #43879

    Kestrana
    Participant

    Not sure what your specific question is but if you want general information about white balance in the 5000, that’s also what I use.

    White balance is generally fine in bright sunlight. In clouds and shade it tends to shift into the blue/green axis. Flourescent lighting shifts into the red/yellow axis. There are presets for these, and for the flash and anti-redeye in the 5000.

    I honestly leave WB on auto and correct in post-processing. The only time I’ve ever changed it was at parties, to the anti-redeye. Some photogs are purists about trying to create the perfect shot in camera; personally I don’t care. Ansel Adams did all sorts of shit in the dark room to adjust his images and no one thinks less of them for that.

    #43880

    chupathingie
    Participant

    Ansel Adams did all sorts of shit in the dark room to adjust his images and no one thinks less of them for that.

    …and that right there is why I consider the perfect shot in-camera to be a fool’s errand. Modern film cameras may automate most of the variables of exposure and other cameras may be digital, but that does not remove the need for processing of the resulting images. Most (if not all) of his work would fall foul of the rules in a contest here were they processed via the digital equivalents of his methods.

    I typically leave the white balance set for daylight and adjust as needed during processing (you would be doing this in 48bit color, yes?). This is one of those personal preference things, IMO; auto would ideally just leave you with less adjustment to make during processing.

    #43876

    caradoc
    Participant

    Ansel Adams did all sorts of shit in the dark room to adjust his images and no one thinks less of them for that.

    …and that right there is why I consider the perfect shot in-camera to be a fool’s errand.

    …however, if you can eliminate an hour in post-processing by taking the ten seconds and slapping the CTO filter on your flash to mix with ambient incandescent, that’s fifty-nine minutes and fifty seconds saved.

    There’s a break-even point in doing everything “pre-shutter” vs. “post-processing.”

    #43875

    sleeping
    Participant

    It’s also worth considering that a lot of what Adams did was intimately tied to the idea of previsualization. He generally knew pretty much what he was going to be doing in the darkroom based on analyzing the scene *before* he pressed the shutter button…

    #43881

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    I guess you’ve mostly answered most of my questions.

    I’ve been doing a little reading (my wife got me the premier issue of NPhoto Magazine for Christmas). The “professionals” seem to pay attention to white balance, and I was just wondering what the point was and if I could do anything to make my pictures better using it.

    I guess for a while I’ll keep leaving it on auto. I’ll look into the cloudy and florescent pre-sets.

    #43882

    caradoc
    Participant

    Here’s one example I use for white balance demonstrations:

    There’s a CTO-gelled flash to camera left, and a bare flash to camera right. The camera is set to “incandescent” white balance.

    You can see that the bare flash turns a “bluer” color when the camera is set to “incandescent.”

    A more extreme example, using a CTO-gelled flash to camera left, and dappled sunlight/open shade:

    Here you can see that the sunlight turns a LOT “bluer” with the camera set for “incandescent.”

    #43883

    orionid
    Participant

    Here’s a thread from a few years back where I asked almost the same question. It was before I was shooting in RAW, but after I’d discovered WB and was still trying to work out the kinks. The shots I’d posted with my question also show some pretty significant differences between lighting sources with different WB settings.

    Edited for inclusion: http://www.farktography.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=1619

    #43884

    caradoc
    Participant

    Um… orionid? Was there supposed to be a link?

    #43885

    orionid
    Participant

    Um… orionid? Was there supposed to be a link?

    Yes, but my browser eated it.

    http://www.farktography.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=1619

    #43886

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    So it sounds mostly like the key (if I’m going to give a hoot) is to shoot in RAW and do any color-corrections in post.

    Due to file sizes, I haven’t shot in RAW yet. If my PP program’s PS3, how much more correction-ability is there in RAW as opposed to the 4K+pixel wide shots I use? Given my PS-er’s heart, I feel I get a butt-load of flexibility already. Is there really that much of a difference?

    (I understand the concept of quality-loss every time I make a correction and then re-save a .jpg, so there’s that benefit I already know about.)

    #43887

    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    There’s a good deal more dynamic range in RAW than in JPG. In JPG, you’ve got 8 bits per channel (RGB), while RAW stores 10-14 bits (don’t rememeber the exact figure and it varies from camera to camera). That means you can pull more detail out of under- or over-exposed RAW images than JPG images (but of course there’s still a limit).

    If you use your camera’s software (Digital Photo Professional for Canon) with RAW images, you can basically post-apply almost any setting in your camera to the image, including white balance, picture style, sharpness, etc, all without actually altering the image (i.e., you can always reset back to SOOC and start again).

    Regarding white balance specifically, I do what others have described here – shoot in Auto and then adjust in post if necessary. However there’s a technique that hasn’t been mentioned yet that I believe the pros use – a white balance card. This is a static device (I’ve seen it in the shape of cards or cubes) with calibrated gray color(s) on it that you shoot before the photo session while setting your camera to custom white balance. The camera then adjusts its white balance so that the card is truly gray. I’ve probably got some details wrong there as I’ve never actually used one, but that’s the general idea.

    #43888

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    Regarding white balance specifically, I do what others have described here – shoot in Auto and then adjust in post if necessary. However there’s a technique that hasn’t been mentioned yet that I believe the pros use – a white balance card. This is a static device (I’ve seen it in the shape of cards or cubes) with calibrated gray color(s) on it that you shoot before the photo session while setting your camera to custom white balance. The camera then adjusts its white balance so that the card is truly gray. I’ve probably got some details wrong there as I’ve never actually used one, but that’s the general idea.

    This is mostly what I was wondering about. I majored in photography in high school, and worked exclusively in B&W at that point (it’s been 20+ years). We didn’t do squat with the white card metering and the pix came out good, but we were made aware of the technique. I figured the cameras had a method for attacking this, and I was wondering what it might be. I was also wondering about the importance of it.
    I pretty much have all the answers to my questions at this point. If I ever decide to pursue this for money, it’s definitely something I will spend some time researching it so that my product for sale is of an irreproachable quality.

    I’ll look into the pre-sets, and when I feel it’s warranted, I’ll begin including RAW in my shooting repertoire. For now, I guess continuing to try to grab the best shot SOOC will be the best policy. Ain’t nothin’ like having that shot show up on your monitor and having your heart skip a beat because you GOT IT. Every time that happens, it’s a top ten shot.

    One of these days that’ll be a number 1 shot.

    One of these days…

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