How do I determine the predominant color temperature of the Interior lighting?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MMeticulous, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    How do I walk into a commercial environment and determine the predominant color temperature of the existing interior lighting? This is for interior architectural shoots, so I will know how to gel my lights to match.

    Thanks!
    :mrgreen: Jeff
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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  3. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    YIKES! That's a grand!

    Is there a more afordable way for us poorly funded newbies?

    Thanks for the feedback!

    :meh:
     
  4. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    All the photogs I know, myself included, just eyeball it. You can usually tell right off if you're working with incandescent bulbs or fluorescents, and whether you'll need to gel your strobes to get in tune with them, and those are the two biggies.

    Then, take a shot and have a look. Too yellow? CTO filter. Too green? Window green filter. Still too much one or the other? Stack another one on there, or use a stronger one - there are 1/4 CTOs, 1/2 CTOs, etc.

    Also, keep in mind that sometimes you want a bit of warmth, especially in homes, or just the opposite maybe if you're shooting a lab or other clinical environment. Most often, you'll want that selectively, where the room may be warm or cool or even green overall, but have some aspects perfectly white balanced, or just the opposite, where the whole is white balanced well, but certain areas are warm, cool or greenish.

    Get a white balance tool to use for helping you with these choices and learn to take control of your camera's white balance ability, especially the custom white balance

    I think you need to learn to play these things by ear, just as an artist with paints and brushes chooses what colors and tints to use for certain parts of a scene - you are, after all, painting with light. There are color meters, as posted above, but as you've seen, very expensive.

    I've read somewhere that some folks are also working with white balance settings in their cameras, pulling color temperature test images up in a laptop, then determining exact color temperatures with Photoshop (and maybe Lightroom), and using that info to gel. I don't remember where I saw that, and no, I don't remember how it was done. I saw a vid not long ago where David Hobby or Joe McNally or someone (can't remember who) was saying that Canon and Nikon need to build that ability into their cameras for easy reference (as opposed to buying and using a $1000+ color meter).

    For now however, you'll likely be 'chimping' to determine your scene's color palette, like most of us.

    Here's a Strobist primer that might help too:

    Strobist: Lighting 101: Using Gels to Correct Light
     
  5. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One thing you can do, is to do a custom white balance with the ambient lighting, take a photo maybe have a person holding a piece of poster board, or at least wearing a white shirt, so you can compare how white is rendered and also skin tone, then add your lights,halogen 3200ºk, if I remember from a previous post. Take another picture. If the color seems off then you can start trying gel, start with a 1/4 value gels, and work your way through different levels of color correction until you get to the point where both your lighting and the room lighting match pretty well.

    Remember that you can add more correction as you go, so 2 layers of 1/4 blue make 1/2 blue and 2 layers of 1/2 make full blue, and so on.
     
  6. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    that's what I would do.

    just wear a white shirt when you work, and take a picture of yourself in each shot before you take the real one, and you'll get the bang on white balance for every shot... or at least a very close approximation.
     
  7. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Or keep a gray card around your neck and stick it out there when you change settings for a test shot that you can use to set white balance later in post production.
     
  8. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    I always have a gray card in my bag for architecture. Works really well. I can see the color of most light but when you get 2 or 3 combined it is very difficult to see so you need something that you can trust.
     
  9. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the feedback! I tried to "thank you" in the last thread, but it wouldn't let me thank anymore people... there must be a limit.

    Anyhow, since I'm shooting in RAW, does white balance even matter or can I just as easily fix it all in post? I've read a lot that you shouldn't mix light colors, which I guess is my primary concern here. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks again!
    :mrgreen: Jeff
     
  10. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    Buckster, I appreciate all the feedback you've given me on several of my threads!

    As for the white balance tool you mentioned, what exactly are you referring to? Are you talking about adjusting the custom white balance on location or in post?

    Thanks again!
    :mrgreen: Jeff
     
  11. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    That seems like a pretty good habit. I'm thinking I also could get some sort of white flag and shoot it under the same lighting conditions, prior to the real shot. Maybe something I could hang from a spare lighting tripod or such.

    Thanks!
     
  12. MMeticulous

    MMeticulous TPF Noob!

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    This intrigues me, but I don't understand what you're saying. Where can I get this type of "gray card"? Is gray better for setting white balance in post than pure white? Can you just shoot it at arms length from the camera or does it need to be positioned further in the shot? Can you please elaborate a bit on this technique? I'm really interested, but don't understand.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the feedback!!!
    :mrgreen: Jeff
     

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