Orange Colour Cast

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ali, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Ali

    Ali Guest

    A post below mentioned 18% grey, which started me thinking about white
    balance temperatures. Here is a photo I took of my nephew this weekend. OK,
    not a particularly good shot, but is the best example I have for this
    particular post, so you can visualise what I mean:

    This shot was taken in low indoor light, using auto in-camera white balance,
    so of course the photo has a strong orange colour cast and looks a bit
    underexposed. BTW, adding my own light source was not an option.

    Of course, it is possible to adjust the photo in post production to reduce,
    or even totally totally eliminate the orange colour cast, but just I am
    interested in what workflow people are using in these situations. For
    example, shooting a grey card and setting the in-camera auto white balance
    from it? Or maybe shooting a grey card, purely as a reference for post

    Personally, I am not too keen on shooting grey cards and setting the
    in-camera white balance, as it is too easy to forget you have manually set
    the white balance. Also (and more importantly), the camera has no idea what
    mood you are looking for in the shot, so quite often, a neutral colour cast
    may not be the right solution, as it will lose the atmosphere of the shot.

    So, any tricks/tips for taking these types of low light, indoor shots to get
    the best in-camera results and reduce post production time/effort? Or any
    good post production tricks and tips?
    Ali, Nov 26, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. Ali

    JL Guest

    JL, Nov 26, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. Ali

    Pat Guest

    I bit of red/orange (aka warmth) is good for a shot like that. So
    instead of shooting a white or gray card, shoot a warm card (which is
    slightly blue).
    Pat, Nov 26, 2007
  4. Ali

    Douglas Guest

    If you want a neutral colour balance, I suggest you use one of these: the results of
    which are:

    I bought this one on eBay for $5 but you can get them in camera stores for
    $40 if you prefer! They go by the name of "white-Bal" and similar sounding

    An almost identical effect can be had by obtaining a "white balance" using
    pretty much anything white and transparent. I've used a plastic drink cup
    and a handkerchief at different times.

    These methods work by blurring the image so much, the camera only "sees" the
    colour of the light source.

    Douglas, Nov 27, 2007
  5. Ali

    Marty Fremen Guest

    Some cameras will auto balance that sort of lighting better than others.
    My Ricoh does a decent job whereas with my Panasonic I always had to
    use custom white balance under artificial lighting.
    It doesn't have to be grey, pointing it at something white e.g. a white
    wall or ceiling is fine and much easier.
    If you're using a camera with an LCD view it will be immediately obvious
    because the picture will have a strong blue cast if you shoot under
    daylight conditions.
    With my Panasonic I found it best to set the custom white balance using
    a white surface and then modify this by setting the white balance
    compensation to the maximum red setting, this restored the right amount
    of warmth to give a more natural look for artificial lighting. Obviously
    this will depend on the camera.
    Marty Fremen, Nov 27, 2007
  6. Ali

    Scott W Guest

    I would shoot that in raw, but then I shoot everything in raw. With a
    raw file it is very easy to set the color temp to whatever looks the
    best, far easier then adjusting the jpeg after the fact.

    Nice shot given the conditions, you got to love being able to shoot at
    iso 1600 at f/2.5 and get a clean image. Looks like the focus is on the
    hand and not his eyes, you might try either manual focus or focusing on
    the eyes and then re-framing.

    Scott W, Nov 27, 2007
  7. Ali

    Paul Furman Guest

    The white teeshirt works reasonably well for doing an eyedropper
    adjustment. If you use auto WB, a reference shot won't really help jpegs
    as each shot will be different so you'd have to set the WB to
    incandescent or something for consistency, then you might as well do
    custom & not have to post process.

    True but that approach really does work well indoors. Post processing is
    a hassle. The idea of shooting a slightly blueish white card is clever.
    You could do this after the fact in the same lighting for spontaneous
    candids when you don't think to set a custom WB & maybe get some use
    even with auto WB.
    Paul Furman, Nov 27, 2007
  8. Ali

    Toby Guest

    I don't know what camera you use, but shooting RAW allows you to completely
    ignore the white balance, which is a kind of in-camera processing. Using RAW
    files and a converter, you have much more flexibility than you do in the
    camera, with its limited, preset WB modes.

    If you are dealing with .jpg files then graphics programs like Photoshop
    often have automatic correction of color casts, or the ability to color
    correct in varying ways. The expert use of color correction tools and
    options are the subject of a number of books, but quite good results can be
    had rather easily.

    Toby, Nov 27, 2007
  9. Then you would have hated having to change color-correction filters on cameras
    from just 10 years ago.
    Analyze the light with your own eyes before taking an image. If you can
    compensate for it with a built-in color-correction PRESET, do so.

    If you want to retain the ambience of the available light then don't depend on
    manual white-balance color correction methods (setting white-balance off of
    white paper). Your preset white-balance options for the various light sources
    will be your best option. Or sometimes even the auto setting depending on how
    strongly your camera compensates. Be reminded that not all cameras set auto
    white-balance immediately. Some take a moment or two to slide into the right

    Failing all that, learn to use your editing tools, Learn to sample from blacks
    grays and whites in your image to find the best white balance, using your
    editor's white-balance methods.

    Failing all that use an editor plugin called ColorWasher from It will be your best bet if you want an automated
    solution, but it has a steep learning curve to use it to best advantage.
    Depending on the 5 types of auto presets sometimes work, but as with anything
    auto, they fail more often than they fix. Learn to use all the adjustments
    manually. You can even use a palette of skintones and replace them in one image
    to the next with this plugin. No need to balance on grays but on skintones
    alone. Once you learn how to use it correctly.

    You might also have some success using a freeware application called FilterSim
    from This managed to salvage
    one badly shifted image that I had to restore, taken from film, that no other
    tools could fix. It's hit and miss with this. Know your basic color-correction
    skills for better success.
    Taylor Albright, Nov 27, 2007
  10. It looks like an eye dropper on your monitor? Looks like a dagger on
    mine :)
    Rather than carrying a variety of tinted gray cards around, would it
    not be easier to use a white card, bit of paper, or any other handy
    white thing in the image (or snapped at the same time under the same
    light) as the initial white reference, and then simply nudge the
    colour temperature or tint a bit on the editor?
    Chris Malcolm, Nov 27, 2007
  11. I was at a formal event once with a white tux. I was surprised at the
    amount of time the news photographer spent on me. Later I was talking with
    him and found out that he was using my white tux for white balance.
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 27, 2007
  12. Ali

    tomm42 Guest

    Couple of things, you can set your camera to an indoor color balance,
    generally a light bulb on color settings. Auto white balance is
    different from camera to camera but is generally set to cover outdoor
    scenes so you have a slideing color balance between 7000 K open shade
    and 4000 K low afternoon sun, some cameras do better than others.
    Inside under artificial light chose indoor lighting setting or do a
    manual setting. Photos shot in jpeg under the wrong color balance can
    be corrected in Photoshop, not sure about PS Elements, using the Photo
    Filter setting. This is under Image, Adjustments. Choose an 80 series
    and move the slider until you get the correction. Going the other
    direction, a too blue image choose an 85 series and move the slider.
    RAW is a good way to cover yourself, still best to get the image right
    in the exposure, just saves time.

    tomm42, Nov 27, 2007
  13. Ali

    Ali Guest

    I was going for the soft focus look. ;-)

    Seriously though, there are a few things I don't like with this image, but
    as said this is the best example I have for showing the colour cast.

    As for shooting at ISO 1600, I love being able to shoot handheld in very low
    light conditions, however there is quite a bit of noise if you view at 100%.
    It's times like these when a full frame body would have been useful.
    Ali, Nov 27, 2007
  14. Ali

    Ali Guest

    If I use the white tee shirt for eye dropper adjustment, looking at the
    levels histogram I can see major posterisation straight away, even though
    the image is 16 (12) bit. Are you using the white point eye dropper in

    I am with you on this one, the less post production the better, which was
    the main reason for my post. Using white cards are new to me, so I am
    curious why people would use a white card instead of a grey card?
    Ali, Nov 27, 2007
  15. Ali

    Paul Furman Guest

    Yes the whitepoint on the white shirt. The photo is underexposed,
    especially the blue channel. I don't really see posterization in the
    image though.
    I don't think it really matters. Gray was originally used for metering
    not for white balance.
    Paul Furman, Nov 27, 2007
  16. Ali

    Paul Furman Guest

    Calling Dr Freud :)

    Sure. The tinted card idea makes sense if you wanted the jpegs to come
    out right with no photoshopping or wanted precise matching from one
    shoot to the next. The only time I bothered setting a custom WB in the
    camera was shooting a sculptor's work with a gray backdrop paper he had
    set up. Those went on his web page and if I come back to shoot newer
    work, I can have those match side by side on the web site by repeating
    with the same piece of paper. Plus I didn't want to second guess the
    artist's colors: let the camera figure out what neutral gray is. I shot
    raw + jpg but only needed to bother with the raw files for a few tricky

    With raw, i's a breeze to apply a custom WB to a set. With a jpeg you'd
    have to do the levels eyedropper, then save that out to a file & load it
    back into each... lotta work.
    Paul Furman, Nov 27, 2007
  17. Less chance of chroma noise interfering with it in dim conditions.
    Chris Malcolm, Nov 28, 2007
  18. Ali

    Yuki Guest

    I had found that the raw converter I use, Bibble Pro, it's quite convenient for
    usual tasks like colour balancing, straightening, cropping, etc. not only in raw
    files but also in JPGs.

    I had processed your picture with it with the following result:

    Seems that was more than one light source with different colour temperatures and
    that the image was underexposed, leaving some posterization, specially in the
    Was any of the lamps a compact fluorescent one? Their colour rendering is awful
    and this image looks like it.
    Yuki, Nov 28, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

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

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.