What's your white balance "technique"?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Shelly1204, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Shelly1204

    Shelly1204 TPF Noob!

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    I've noticed a lot of tutorial material has conflicting advice on handling white balance settings. Some recommend you dial in a custom white balance with a grey card or similar static reference for every new environment you shoot in. Some suggest you just use one of the camera preset white balance settings that best suits your shooting environment unless you're getting poor results, or using gels, etc.

    Do you set a custom white balance every time you shoot in a new environment/ have a change of light source, or do you just rely on one of your camera's presets?
     
  2. AtlPikMan

    AtlPikMan TPF Noob!

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    Honestly I shoot in Raw leaving the Camera setting to Auto. I'm Post Processing i change the WB to whatever i like. If im missing something by not going with a Custom wb somebody let me know.
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Ditto
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My method is the following:

    In camera I have it set to Auto White balance mode - though I have noticed that the defaults (at least for JPEGs in preview) on the 400D that I use tend to come out a little reddy in colour. Honestly though most cameras will give you slight variations how they read colours and such.

    I also have the camera set to shoot in RAW mode all the time - that means when it comes to editing I not only get to but have to set the white balance of the shot - this helps a lot when the camera makes a mistake or when I just want to tweak it a little.

    As a final point if you are taking control of white balance in this way you should really use a good computer screen (LCD sorts you are looking at a significant investment as you have to get one which won't have contrast and brightness changes based on your viewing angle) which is also calibrated using a hardware based calibration system - such as a Spyder 3. Though you can (and I sadly do) use a cheaper LCD screen and get some level of calibration it does make for slighting inconsistante results because of the viewing angle factor.
     
  5. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I leave my camera on Daylight all the time and shoot a WhiBal if needed.


    Usually, I don't have to change anything - since most of the time Daylight is my light source.

    EDIT
    I also always shoot RAW, so WB adjustments are as simple as a few clicks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Not all digital SLRs handle auto white balance equally well, but it's a
    good tactic to use that setting a lot of the time.

    Like Josh, I use a Whibal card a lot, and always capture my images as RAW data files.
     
  7. SushiWarrior

    SushiWarrior TPF Noob!

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    I set it manually. It may take some more time but I like to get it right.
     
  8. wtdeane

    wtdeane TPF Noob!

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    Always shoot in RAW so you can have all the PP options available.

    That being said, if I need to have WB perfect, I use a WhiBal card. These cards a calibrated to be spectrally neutral. This is KEY to be able to reflect all colors through the spectrum equally.

    Then, I just do a white balance pick in Lightroom and BAM, perfect WB. I copy the setting to all the shots taken that session and they are all calibrated. 1 minute, start to finish.

    I also have an ExpoDisc, and love it, but it's for specific shoots.


    Cheers!
     
  9. Shockey

    Shockey TPF Noob!

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    I set my camera on Auto white balance and leave it there.
    If the occasional shot has a white balance I don't like...I fix it in post with one of the eyedroppers....takes two seconds.
    For those of you that are just starting into photography...keep it simple.....the more complicated you make it, the more fun bleeds out of the whole process.
     
  10. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    I can pretty much figure out whether I'm shooting under fluorescent lighting, tungsten, daylight, or shadow. I usually just set it to those and it comes out pretty good I think. Just gotta think before you shoot that's all.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I prefer a set white balance most of the time--it is much more consistent than Auto. In auto WB, the WB shifts from frame to frame to frame, leading to much more variation than just setting a custom white balance, or using one of the pre-sets that the camera has, like Daylight or Fine Weather as the Japanese call it, or Cloudy, or Flash.

    Surprisingly, Flash White Balance works pretty well late in the day under snowy conditions.

    Some cameras have pretty finicky white balance,especially in Auto mode.

    For things like sunsets or sunrises, or the weir and beautiful evening light that occurs on some summer days, or the light that exists during periods of heavy clouds with sunlight shafts steaming through, or other unusual light colorations, using AUTO WB will often remove the beautiful color of light that you are trying to achieve. Under those types of situations, using AUTO WB is absolutely,totally the WRONG choice--go with Daylight WB most of the time if you hope to have the right look to the light, especially if shooting in JPEG capture mode.
     
  12. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Me too...
    I generally do change it editing the RAW file, one of my favourites when photographing people is to take the white balance from somewhere in the white part of the eye - this usually gives me the colours I want.
     

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