Finding the right white balance for sunset photos

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Raddy, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Raddy

    Raddy TPF Noob!

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    I have some sunset photos from a recent trip, but I can't decide on the right white balance:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I used the eyedropper to set it for these first two.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And these two used the Lightroom "daylight" and "cloudy" presets, respectively. I've seen people suggest using "daylight" as the white balance for sunsets, but that looks far too blue to me. But I'm worried the other ones are too orange and will come off looking over-processed (Custom 2 is my personal favorite), so I was looking for any advice regarding these.


     
  2. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I like the second one down best. For me, the correct white balance is the one that makes it look like it did in real life. Which means it’s okay for the buildings to have an orange cast to them if that’s what was really there.
     
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  3. Tomasko

    Tomasko No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm afraid there's no "right white balance". There is only wb that is the closest to what you saw with your own eyes (only you can tell) and there are numerous other wb settings which are fine as long as it suits the mood you as a photographer prefer for this shot.
    Photography, including photojournalism (!!!), is a very subjective thing.
     
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  4. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The first question that comes to mind is what did you use for a target for the eye dropper? In difdicult light i find it better to carry a white, neutral gray and black target between the three i can get close enough to tweak it from there
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    37514829141_52c6645974_k - Version 2.jpg
     
  6. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    the last looks good. I miss Florence! Not designer's -- too blue for me.

    no joke:

    upload_2017-10-5_13-3-12.png


    is that a moose?!
     
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  7. Raddy

    Raddy TPF Noob!

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    I'm trying to remember. I know on one of them, I selected the shade side of white van, and on the other I believe I picked a gray piece of metal. The trouble I have with a neutral is that the sunlight actually is more orange at sunset. The reason I picked the shaded side of the van is that the sunlight side produced an extremely blue image because the as-shot light was orange (as it should be). So I'm trying to figure out how, in the future, to accurately represent the orange light without going overboard.

    I believe it is! Right along the river bank there are a bunch of stick sculptures of animals, including a crocodile, a unicorn, and a deer.
     
  8. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    While i agree that one approach is to render as it looked in real life, but why should that be the only approach. If you would have waited a bit, I suspect the real life look would be very similar to the first one in the second set.

    The thing I'm finding of late is that a good digital exposure is only limited on "look" by the imagination and patience of the photographer
     
  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When you face the sunset (and your camera is pointed toward the sunset) what you're seeing is the orange light of the sun reflecting off the clouds.

    However, if you look straight up, you'll see that the sky above you is actually blue, not orange. That is why the shade side of a white van looks blue. The blue light of the sky has illuminated everything that the sunset has not directly illuminated.

    In the future, simply rely on your memory to get it fairly close, and then tweak it to be more like you remember it. We weren't there, so you can make it exactly as you remember it, and we will just keep our computers in our pockets.
     
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  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Take one of these with you when you're out making images.
     
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  11. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    Could be.
    That Centaur just to its right under your line is interesting too!
     
  12. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I like 4 the best.

    I normally set a custom white balance for sunsets along with a white and black point. Maybe an adjustment brush on the sky and play with the HSL sliders a bit.
     

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