WB and color casts

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MACollum, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    I have a couple of problems I've been dealing with for a while. First, the auto WB is ALWAYS off. It's hardly ever even close. I have a gray card but usually forget to use it. When I do use it, it causes its own problems. This morning I was taking pictures of a pet. I took a picture with the gray card for reference so that when I opened in DPP, I could choose the click WB setting. Trouble is, the card is somewhat mottled or something. It seems to be textured and it will change colors when I click on different parts of the card. What good is a gray card if it is not uniform in color??

    Another issue...COLOR CASTS. It seems that there is always a color cast, either red or green. I suppose it could be something in DPP, I'm just not sure. For example, at my MIL's house I always get color casts, but her walls are not white, so it makes sense. At my house though, I still get casts. I have white walls and a white ceiling. I avoid shooting in the living room because of the blue blinds covering the windows but there still always seems to be an odd color if I'm not outside. Am I losing my mind? It has gotten to the point where I don't take many pics because I don't want to fight with the colors in PP.
     
  2. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    This company makes a disc that corrects white balance, and does a better job than auto WB. It comes in different filter sizes to fit your lens. Check it out.

    ExpoImaging | ExpoDisc 62mm Digital White Balance | EXPOD62

    Checked out your photos. I like the feel of your carnival pics. If you added some closeups of people, it might make a nice series. Maybe something to work on.
     
  3. dhilberg

    dhilberg TPF Noob!

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    Instead of shooting the gray card for a PP reference, have you tried using it to set a custom white balance in your camera? This should give you good results. Doing this will eliminate the need to mess with the color balance in PP, for the most part anyway.
     
  4. dtornabene1

    dtornabene1 TPF Noob!

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    Both posts give solid advice. You should be using a custom WB in the camera not in DPP. I have the expodisc and it's great, but has its limitations. Always shoot in RAW, adjust WB later.

    There is a cheaper alternitave. It's called the Lally CAP. It is not as accurate as the expodisc but it is also only $30. You can find it at Lally Cap.

    -Nick
     
  5. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Your WB is obviously set to daylight which is roughly 5500k, indoor with the room light on you will get an orange cast, this is because the lighting is now tungsten and you need to change WB for this, if you use flash then the changes are not needed as flash is balanced to 5500k. Look in the menus and alter the WB according to the lighting. H
     
  6. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I use a Grey card to set a custom white balance when shooting. This is both effective and a time saver in post.

    Try setting a custom balance on your next shoot and see how that works out for you, if needed you can pick up a new gray card, they are not expensive.
     
  7. dtornabene1

    dtornabene1 TPF Noob!

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    As a digital photographer, you don't have the luxury of getting WB correct all the time. Even with help from accessories. Even the best LCD screen on the back of a camera is not going to match the detail of a monitor. Out of all the adjustments we make, WB should be last and left to pp (post production).

    I don't want to sound hypocritical, because I do use the expodisc. But I do not change the WB after every shot, unless tethered to a laptop. There again you have the luxury of time and a better monitor.

    General shooting, leave the WB for later. It's a fast fix and shouldn't take up too much of your time. Believe me, if you were shooting film, you would take a lot more time with processing.

    -Nick
     
  8. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I do not want to come across as a jerk, but in my opinion that is just bad advice. As a digital photographer, you do have the luxury of getting WB correct all the time

    The way I see it is, time spent in front of the computer is time taken away from shooting. And it may only take a few seconds to correct white balance, but it takes even less time to set a custom white balance.

    I use to think the same way; “I will correct it in post”, but why? You can set a custom balance in less than 5 seconds with a gray card, even if you have to do that 10 times in the course of a few hours shooting that is less than a minute.
    I would like to see a person correctly WB 1000 + photos in under a minute.

    If you can, always set a custom WB, you will get better color and a more accurate representation of what the conditions were. At worst you will just have to adjust it in post anyway, so what have you got to lose.
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    For me, it comes down to the type of shooting I'm doing.

    For shooting with consistent lighting, it's handy to set a custom WB...but it's also easy to correct the WB in post because I can copy the WB setting from one image to any number of images in no time at all.

    When shooting when the light or situation is changing a lot, I just leave the camera in Auto WB and deal with the WB in post. It's still pretty easy to select a range of images that were in similar light, and apply the same WB to all of them.
     
  10. Kendo

    Kendo TPF Noob!

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    I agree. So easy to do. Do it right the first time or make time to do it later.
     
  11. dtornabene1

    dtornabene1 TPF Noob!

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    Folks, my point is more along the lines of what Big Mike is saying. When shooting professionally, the end product is very important. If you think you can set the correct WB on a 3 inch LCD and a gray card, be my guest.

    Unfortunatly, you will end up spending more time and more money in the long run relying on you lab to do this for you. If you are just expecting to get WB right from the camera directly, why even calibrate a monitor?

    Any and all professional writers will tell you, WB is to be set only when and if the conditions are constant. If light changes from shot to shot, you what to spend five seconds on trying to get the correct WB?

    This is not practical in the real world of professional photography. If you are a beginner, I get it. However my advice is there to help beginers move up to the next level. You will never have sucessful event photography if you take 5 seconds per shot, period. That's the difference beteween the photograph you wish you had and the one that got away.

    Lastly, nothing is more unprofessional in event photography than a gray card. You are there not to be seen. The expodisc solves that problem to the extent of consistant lighting. You will never, and I mean never, see a professoinal event photographer use a gray card.

    Sorry guys, but there is no place for them. This is an old technique used when balancing film that has found its way into the digital world via WB adjustment. Besides, are you or are you not looking at each shot in post? If not WB is the least of your worries.

    While for an amature this may seem like bad advice, but when in practice you will learn this is the only way to go. Here are some articles from professionals that explain what I mean. Never cut corners. Always look and process in post or your photos will never be professional.

    Picture Doctor: 4 Ways to Cure The Blues - - PopPhotoMarch 2007

    Digital Photography Tutorial: Understanding White Balance - Photoxels

    Now I can go on and on, but read these articles and notice how they reference old school film. This is where the grey card should have gone to die. You can't just hold one up and poof! There are even proper techniques to the gray card. If you think you have time for this, you have just been replaced by another professional photographer who gets the job.

    -Nick
     
  12. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    Wow, so many great replies. Thanks! For ease, I usually prefer to leave it in auto and fix all in post. I love the shooting part, but if I had to work at getting the WB right, I wouldn't enjoy shooting so much. My photography is strictly a hobby so I have little need for such stringent quality control ;).

    I've found that a big part of my problem is the gray card I'm using. When I bought it I didn't realize that all cards are NOT created equal. The guy at the photo store handed me a package and I bought it. I've done some reading and found that the Delta cards I have generally suck. I'm going to try the Kodak R-27 cards. The reviews are good anyway.

    I don't know about the color casts still, it could just be my eyes. Sometimes a picture looks OK, but I come back the next day and I wonder, "WTF was I thinking?!" I think that getting a better gray card (one that is actually the same 18% gray all over) and using it consistently will solve the WB problem.
     

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