White balance

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by icam, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. icam

    icam TPF Noob!

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    hi all,
    I rate myself as a total beginner. I have a question. If you're using the flash for a night photo, should you use the flash when trying to measure custom white balance?

    thanks! :meh:
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    If you are setting a custom WB, then use whatever lighting (flash included) that will be used for the shot. If you measure the WB without using flash, then your flashed photo will probably have a color cast.

    The problem you might have, is that flash is rather close to daylight in terms of color temp...but most lights that are around us (light bulbs, street lights) are a different color temp. And of course, you can only set your camera to one WB setting.

    It's probably best to set the WB for your subject and let the background look different, than to do the opposite. So in this case, you would probably want flash/daylight WB (or custom with flash).

    A more advanced way to do this, would be to use a color gel on your flash, to match the existing light, that way, you can balance your subject and background.

    Personally, I use auto WB most of the time...but I also shoot in RAW so that I can adjust the WB afterward.
     
  3. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You didn't mention what camera and flash you're using, but I've never seen any problem using Auto WB with flash turned on - I only need to set the WB when I'm using the local artificial lighting conditions.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's a question: What are you trying to achieve?

    White balance affects an image globally. There have been cases both day and night time where I use tungsten white balance to get the effect I want even when I use flash. The results are to suit the style of the image. Your flash is just another light source and it's white balance can be modified using coloured gels.

    If you're trying to achieve a perfectly neutral image from foreground to background at night in a city with a straight flash it's something that white balance can't help with much. The reason being that most city lights look very similar in colour to mercury vapour lights at around 3000k with tints in all directions. Flashes are around 5500k.

    I advise to shoot RAW and adjust the white balance in post processing if you can.
     

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