White Balance problems

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JDP, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    Greetings!
    Ok, so I built the lightbox via directions I found on this site. The only difference is he's using Sylvania Daylight bulbs, 100 watt and I'm using 100 watt GE Reveal bulbs. But, for some reason, the white balance is all off - no matter what I do. (BTW, this is on a Nikon D50 with the 18-55mm kit lens)

    Here's a shot he took:
    [​IMG]

    And alas, here's one of mine:
    [​IMG]

    Now, the fact that I'm using Reveal bulbs vs his Daylight bulbs shouldn't make a difference, but are standard tungsten elements with a neodymium coating inside the glass. I've tried a variety of different White Balance settings, as well as attempting to take a reading inside the box and using that - I can get different shades, but nothing close to white. I've also tried various camera modes from full Auto to Full Manual with the same results. So am I doing something wrong, or is this how it's SUPPOSED to look? I can fix it in software, of course, but I'm curious as to if this is just the way it's supposed to look.

    It's driving me nuts!
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't have a nikon D50 nor am I familiar with its operation but I'm sure it has a similar function as my canon.

    When taking photos similar to the ones you are attempting, I usually start by taking an empty white background only photo. Then I go through the menus to set a custom white balance. Then I select the plain white background picture as my basis for the custom white balance. Then i make sure the camera is set to use the custom white balance and I am all set.

    Here is one before white balance is taken
    [​IMG]

    Here is one after

    [​IMG]
     
  3. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Though I can't answer the question I can verify for USAYIT that the D50 does have that same functionality.

    Haha... that's my most valuable post yet.
     
  4. Orgnoi1

    Orgnoi1 TPF Noob!

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    Have you tried taking a 18% grey card reading in the light inside the box? That would be my next step... your reveal bulbs and his daylight bulbs will DEFINATELY make a difference though... daylight bulbs are meant to look as such... reveal bulbs are white balanced as tungston, not daylight.

     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Can you get it close to white if you shoot in RAW and adjust it afterward? You should be able to get something very close by using a custom WB and a white card.

    Either way, your shot is very underexposed. It will probably look a lot better with proper exposure.

    A camera wants to make every exposure equal to an 18% grey tone. A lot of the time, a scene is filled with many different tones, so the camera's compromise is fairly close to how we would see it. However, in this case, the scene is almost completely white...which makes the camera think it's too bright, so it gives you less exposure...causing the under exposure.

    What you have to do, is to override the camera's setting. Either with exposure compensation, or by using manual mode and watching the needle on the meter.

    If the scene is too bright/white then you need to ADD exposure. If the scene is dark, then you need to subtract exposure. Exactly how much to adjust will depend on a lot of things...and experience will be your best friend here.

    To start with, try your shot again but set the exposure compensation to +1 then +1.5 then +2.
     
  6. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    I didn't have an 18% Grey card, so I used the white interior of the box to meter off of. It didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I got it figured out. As was pointed out, the bulb is still tungsten, so I started using a WB for tungsten, then adjusted things manually until it gave me a shot very close to pure white, then a simple cleanup in PS. I was just going about it the wrong way hehe
     
  7. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    Also, experiment a bit with postprocessing.

    This was the effect of Photoshop's Auto Levels function. Half a second of work, and that's it.

    [​IMG]

    Then I messed with the color levels a bit to tweak it into this:

    [​IMG]

    Messing around with levels and colors should allow you to correct any white balance issues. As others have said, however, a proper exposure would have helped tremendously.
     

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