White Balance - auto or custom?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jan Werbiñski, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. For outdoor and studio portraits you leave WB on auto or it's better to use
    Custom?
    If custom then you use plain white card (bad) or Kodak grey card / grey
    scale?

    For few hours outdoor session during changing weaher (sunny, cloudy, part.
    sunny etc) you set WB everytime weather changes?
    And that's half of the problem. What if you use fill in flash outdoor? What
    WB you use?

    --
    Jan Werbiñski O0oo....._[:]) bul, bul, bul
    Strona domowa http://www.janwer.com/
    Nasza sieæ http://www.fredry.net/
     
    Jan Werbiñski, Oct 4, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Jan Werbiñski

    Tom Thackrey Guest

    On 4-Oct-2003, "Jan Werbiñski"
    <> wrote:

    > For outdoor and studio portraits you leave WB on auto or it's better to
    > use
    > Custom?
    > If custom then you use plain white card (bad) or Kodak grey card / grey
    > scale?
    >
    > For few hours outdoor session during changing weaher (sunny, cloudy, part.
    > sunny etc) you set WB everytime weather changes?
    > And that's half of the problem. What if you use fill in flash outdoor?
    > What
    > WB you use?


    I shoot raw, include a gray card in a shot when color is critical, and do
    the color correction in the PhotoShop raw converter.

    --
    Tom Thackrey
    www.creative-light.com
    tom (at) creative (dash) light (dot) com
    do NOT send email to (it's reserved for spammers)
     
    Tom Thackrey, Oct 4, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Jan Werbiñski

    Bob Hatch Guest

    "Jan Werbiñski" <> wrote in
    message news:blmuel$plo$...
    > For outdoor and studio portraits you leave WB on auto or it's better to

    use
    > Custom?
    > If custom then you use plain white card (bad) or Kodak grey card / grey
    > scale?
    >
    > For few hours outdoor session during changing weaher (sunny, cloudy, part.
    > sunny etc) you set WB everytime weather changes?
    > And that's half of the problem. What if you use fill in flash outdoor?

    What
    > WB you use?
    >

    Manual. Every session and every time I change location on the property. Some
    areas are in deep shade, cool light. Some areas are in open light, warn or
    hot light. The studio is all White Lightning. I have done multiple tests
    using different types of cards and what works best, if you want a truly
    neutral white balance is a card made from whatever you are printing on. In
    my case this was a piece of photo paper from the lab, unexposed and
    processed. Next closest thing was a Kodak Gray Card. Off brands did not
    produce as clean of a white as did the Kodak.

    After about 2 years using white cards I discovered these:
    http://www.proofz.com/

    Because they have a slightly blue tint the image is a bit warmer depending
    on which card you use. I use the 65 only.

    For outdoors, because I use a Canon DSLR I use a Canon 420 EX for fill. I
    zoom in on the face, press the Flash Lock button, recompose and take the
    picture. Camera is *always* in manual mode set at 5.6 on my 28-135 IS lens.
    To set exposure I zoom in on the face adjust the shutter speed on the camera
    until the meter comes to the center point, pre-flash, recompose, shoot.

    This method has worked for me for 10's of thousands of images.
    --
    Everyday I beat my own previous record for number
    of consecutive days I have stayed alive.
    http://www.bobhatch.com
     
    Bob Hatch, Oct 4, 2003
    #3
  4. When I first got my 10D I would attempt to set the color balance
    based on conditions. But it seemed like my idea of shade or cloudy was
    different from what the camera thought. So I've been leaving it in AWB
    and it seems to work just fine. Since I shoot RAW I can always change
    it later anyway.
     
    Randall Ainsworth, Oct 4, 2003
    #4
  5. Jan Werbiñski

    Stuart B. Guest

    Jan,

    My experiences are that doing custom/manual WB with a gray card
    routinely is a really good idea. The AWB seems to work "pretty good,
    most of the time", but when it fails, it is often spectactularly.

    I have some hideous pictures (AWB) of my children in a swimming pool
    that was illuminated by overhead skylights and flourescents. We are
    talking Halloween scary skin tones!

    My current digicam doesn't have RAW (that is a mistake I will never
    make again!), so once you press the shutter, the game is over.

    I have the same questions you do about how flash and fill-flash shift
    the AWB. Far as I can tell, fill-flash doesn't "mess up" the custom
    WB, at least on my camera.

    Stuart B


    On Sat, 4 Oct 2003 19:01:39 +0200, "Jan Werbiñski"
    <> wrote:

    >For outdoor and studio portraits you leave WB on auto or it's better to use
    >Custom?
    >If custom then you use plain white card (bad) or Kodak grey card / grey
    >scale?
    >
    >For few hours outdoor session during changing weaher (sunny, cloudy, part.
    >sunny etc) you set WB everytime weather changes?
    >And that's half of the problem. What if you use fill in flash outdoor? What
    >WB you use?
     
    Stuart B., Oct 9, 2003
    #5
  6. Jan Werbiñski

    Bob Hatch Guest

    "Stuart B." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Jan,
    >
    > My experiences are that doing custom/manual WB with a gray card
    > routinely is a really good idea. The AWB seems to work "pretty good,
    > most of the time", but when it fails, it is often spectactularly.
    >
    > I have some hideous pictures (AWB) of my children in a swimming pool
    > that was illuminated by overhead skylights and flourescents. We are
    > talking Halloween scary skin tones!
    >
    > My current digicam doesn't have RAW (that is a mistake I will never
    > make again!), so once you press the shutter, the game is over.
    >
    > I have the same questions you do about how flash and fill-flash shift
    > the AWB. Far as I can tell, fill-flash doesn't "mess up" the custom
    > WB, at least on my camera.
    >

    If you do the manual white balance with the fill flash set on then the
    reading will be right on. The white balance is measuring the color, or
    temperature of the light. If you white balance in deep shade a white card
    will look kind of blue to the camera. The camera will then compensate by
    adding enough yellow, magenta, red back in to bring the card to "white, or
    gray". It works the opposite way in bright sun, the camera compensates by
    taking out the hot, orange colors.

    Even with studio lighting you "should" custom white balance the camera. The
    "strobe" setting on the camera is set to a specific light temperature and
    "assumes" that your lights will produce that light. If your flash tubes are
    old, your umbrella or softbox has a tint to it or any of several other
    conditions alter the light, the color of the light will be off, and so will
    your images.

    --
    Everyday I beat my own previous record for number
    of consecutive days I have stayed alive.
    http://www.bobhatch.com
     
    Bob Hatch, Oct 9, 2003
    #6
  7. Jan Werbiñski

    Stuart B. Guest

    Bob,

    >If you do the manual white balance with the fill flash set on then the
    >reading will be right on.


    This is pretty camera specific. My camera doesn't seem to fire the
    fill flash when it does the manual/custom WB set, even if the flash
    mode is set to fill.

    The process for setting custom WB is: Go to a menu option, aim camera
    at the card (gray or white works fine, I've actually had better luck
    with gray) press a button, but _not_ the shutter button. Camera
    "mostly" acts like it takes a picture and you've now got your custom
    WB.

    Here's a challenge for you, tell me how you would do it.

    Imagine, a large gymnasium lit by some rather ugly lighting. Further
    imagine a separate but dedicated flash unit. It will certainly
    illuminate most of the foreground, but some of the background will
    still be visible, illuminated by the overhead lights.

    I usually just use AWB when I have the flash as a dominant light
    source, but I'm at a loss what else I could even do for the above
    scenario.

    For those wags who would suggest ("Get another camera, this time with
    RAW mode", thanks, I already know that.).

    Stuart B.



    > The white balance is measuring the color, or
    >temperature of the light. If you white balance in deep shade a white card
    >will look kind of blue to the camera. The camera will then compensate by
    >adding enough yellow, magenta, red back in to bring the card to "white, or
    >gray". It works the opposite way in bright sun, the camera compensates by
    >taking out the hot, orange colors.
    >
    >Even with studio lighting you "should" custom white balance the camera. The
    >"strobe" setting on the camera is set to a specific light temperature and
    >"assumes" that your lights will produce that light. If your flash tubes are
    >old, your umbrella or softbox has a tint to it or any of several other
    >conditions alter the light, the color of the light will be off, and so will
    >your images.
     
    Stuart B., Oct 10, 2003
    #7
  8. Jan Werbiñski

    Bob Hatch Guest

    "Stuart B." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Bob,
    >
    > >If you do the manual white balance with the fill flash set on then the
    > >reading will be right on.

    >
    > This is pretty camera specific. My camera doesn't seem to fire the
    > fill flash when it does the manual/custom WB set, even if the flash
    > mode is set to fill.
    >
    > The process for setting custom WB is: Go to a menu option, aim camera
    > at the card (gray or white works fine, I've actually had better luck
    > with gray) press a button, but _not_ the shutter button. Camera
    > "mostly" acts like it takes a picture and you've now got your custom
    > WB.
    >
    > Here's a challenge for you, tell me how you would do it.
    >
    > Imagine, a large gymnasium lit by some rather ugly lighting. Further
    > imagine a separate but dedicated flash unit. It will certainly
    > illuminate most of the foreground, but some of the background will
    > still be visible, illuminated by the overhead lights.
    >
    > I usually just use AWB when I have the flash as a dominant light
    > source, but I'm at a loss what else I could even do for the above
    > scenario.
    >
    > For those wags who would suggest ("Get another camera, this time with
    > RAW mode", thanks, I already know that.).
    >
    > Stuart B.
    >

    I will set something up and show you with images how I would do it based on
    what you posted. I believe that the process you describe is how it works on
    my G2, but don't know for sure. If not I will WB without flash and then add
    fill for picture.

    Should have something for you by late Sunday.

    Bob
    --
    "Let's make it absolutely clear that California is not
    going to be stampeded by the same right-wingers
    that gave us the election in Florida and are
    trying to do things that are really against our interest." --Hillary Clinton
    http://www.bobhatch.com
     
    Bob Hatch, Oct 10, 2003
    #8
  9. Jan Werbiñski

    Pat Guest

    Sorry, but you folk are suffering from a common misunderstanding.
    You have two different light sources in your picture.
    White Balance can correct one of them, NOT BOTH.

    If you correct for the foreground flash (easy) the background will be awful.
    If you correct for the background (often difficult to fully correct), the
    foreground will be off (usually blue).
    And the silly obsession with RAW does nothing to change the facts!

    The only real answer is to filter one light source to match the other, then
    set the camera to correct both. It's usually most practical to filter the
    foreground flash, usually with green, to match the background, usually
    fluorescent of some type but not always.

    If you can find a local, truly professional outfit near you, (Don't bother
    to talk to any shop assistants under 45 years old!) they should be able to
    point you at a professional filter supplier.

    Most amateur snappers are not prepared to go to the trouble and cost - just
    bodge it in Photoshop!

    "Stuart B." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Bob,
    >
    > >If you do the manual white balance with the fill flash set on then the
    > >reading will be right on.

    >
    > This is pretty camera specific. My camera doesn't seem to fire the
    > fill flash when it does the manual/custom WB set, even if the flash
    > mode is set to fill.
    >
    > The process for setting custom WB is: Go to a menu option, aim camera
    > at the card (gray or white works fine, I've actually had better luck
    > with gray) press a button, but _not_ the shutter button. Camera
    > "mostly" acts like it takes a picture and you've now got your custom
    > WB.
    >
    > Here's a challenge for you, tell me how you would do it.
    >
    > Imagine, a large gymnasium lit by some rather ugly lighting. Further
    > imagine a separate but dedicated flash unit. It will certainly
    > illuminate most of the foreground, but some of the background will
    > still be visible, illuminated by the overhead lights.
    >
    > I usually just use AWB when I have the flash as a dominant light
    > source, but I'm at a loss what else I could even do for the above
    > scenario.
    >
    > For those wags who would suggest ("Get another camera, this time with
    > RAW mode", thanks, I already know that.).
    >
    > Stuart B.
    >
    >
    >
    > > The white balance is measuring the color, or
    > >temperature of the light. If you white balance in deep shade a white card
    > >will look kind of blue to the camera. The camera will then compensate by
    > >adding enough yellow, magenta, red back in to bring the card to "white,

    or
    > >gray". It works the opposite way in bright sun, the camera compensates by
    > >taking out the hot, orange colors.
    > >
    > >Even with studio lighting you "should" custom white balance the camera.

    The
    > >"strobe" setting on the camera is set to a specific light temperature and
    > >"assumes" that your lights will produce that light. If your flash tubes

    are
    > >old, your umbrella or softbox has a tint to it or any of several other
    > >conditions alter the light, the color of the light will be off, and so

    will
    > >your images.

    >
     
    Pat, Oct 11, 2003
    #9
  10. Jan Werbiñski

    MikeWhy Guest

    "Pat" <> wrote in message
    news:bm8suf$u6d$...
    > If you correct for the foreground flash (easy) the background will be

    awful.
    > If you correct for the background (often difficult to fully correct), the
    > foreground will be off (usually blue).
    > And the silly obsession with RAW does nothing to change the facts!


    RAW doesn't change the need for off-camera color correction for multiple
    lighting conditions. It differs, though, by starting with 16 bit color and
    without compression artifacts.

    > The only real answer is to filter one light source to match the other,

    then
    > set the camera to correct both. It's usually most practical to filter the
    > foreground flash, usually with green, to match the background, usually
    > fluorescent of some type but not always.


    At most, use a split or gradient filter to correct the off-color background.
    Flash on daylight film doesn't need filtering. Personally, I wouldn't
    bother.

    > If you can find a local, truly professional outfit near you, (Don't bother
    > to talk to any shop assistants under 45 years old!) they should be able to
    > point you at a professional filter supplier.


    Buy it online. B&H isn't a bad place to start shopping if you're in the US.

    > Most amateur snappers are not prepared to go to the trouble and cost -

    just
    > bodge it in Photoshop!


    Nothing wrong with fixing things in Photoshop. Even the most obsessive
    photographers -- Ansel Adams, for example -- do the majority of their work
    after the fact, in the darkroom or in something like Photoshop.

    > > Imagine, a large gymnasium lit by some rather ugly lighting. Further
    > > imagine a separate but dedicated flash unit. It will certainly
    > > illuminate most of the foreground, but some of the background will
    > > still be visible, illuminated by the overhead lights.
    > >
    > > I usually just use AWB when I have the flash as a dominant light
    > > source, but I'm at a loss what else I could even do for the above
    > > scenario.


    Difficult lighting is a fact of life, and it's easy to fix.

    > > For those wags who would suggest ("Get another camera, this time with
    > > RAW mode", thanks, I already know that.).


    You don't need RAW. It's not for everyone, and it doesn't sound like it's
    for you. Photoshop, though, would help you do what you're looking to do.
    These types of corrections are routine, and Photoshop is the tool of choice
    for almost everyone.

    To answer your gymnasium question directly, walk over to the background area
    and shoot a single frame of your gray card, or any convenient piece of white
    paper. Use the same exposure you're likely to be shooting later, but without
    the flash. This captures all you need to know about the lighting there.
    Later on in life, you can use this as a reference to fix the other shots.
    You might not be obsessive about tweaking every frame you print now, but who
    knows what your future might bring.
     
    MikeWhy, Oct 12, 2003
    #10
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. jeff liss
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    540
    Andrew
    Sep 5, 2003
  2. Catherine Jo Morgan

    canons - how to set custom white balance?

    Catherine Jo Morgan, Nov 4, 2003, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    673
    Catherine Jo Morgan
    Nov 5, 2003
  3. Robert John Guttke

    Custom White Balance/Canon Rebel

    Robert John Guttke, May 22, 2004, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    1,881
    Robert John Guttke
    May 23, 2004
  4. Graham Russell

    EOS 1D Mk2 custom white balance problem

    Graham Russell, Mar 26, 2005, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    365
    Graham Russell
    Mar 26, 2005
  5. Steve Cutchen

    Custom White Balance: Gray Card or White Card?

    Steve Cutchen, Oct 21, 2005, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    31
    Views:
    1,690
Loading...

Share This Page