Fluorescent is fluorescent, right?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by SirenCherie, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. SirenCherie

    SirenCherie TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so I'm starting to get into balancing off camera flash with ambient light, and I get that fluorescent lights are green and tungsten is yellow/orange, etc. However, what about the fluorescent lights that are different colors? I've seen fluorescents that are blue colored named "cool white", or the yellow ones for "soft yellow" light, I haven't worked with them photographically as they are in my home, but never in the locations I shoot. Will the camera's sensor just pick these up as different shades of green or will they show up in the colors that they are intended to cast?

    With more and more people (and wedding venues) switching to the more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs, I'm wondering how to go about balancing that, especially if I'd like to go for a warm and cozy tungsten glow behind my subject, and a less warm lighting on my subject using a speed light. Thoughts? Feelings? Suggestions?


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    AWB should correct for the various colors of fluorescents, but you'll need to know how to tell the diffrences between them if you're gonna set your WB manually. They can vary between 2700K to 5500K.

    All bets are off if you're going to shoot in mixed lighting.
     
  3. 2WheelPhoto

    2WheelPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I like to use gels on my flash to match to fluorescent ambient. Usually if I'm shooting tethered to a laptop or using a loupe it doesn't take long for me to match up the flash to whichever ambient. And the extremes - real soft or the bright blue daylighter bulbs (seen in garages and such and look ice cold) are usually easy to spot
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The klller is when the venue mixes lighting. You can move 20 feet and move 1000 degrees in color temp.

    Getting there ahead of time to walk around and check is your only real answer. Fore warned is fore armed, as they say. ;)
     
  5. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Actually GE's current lighting catalog shows the fluorescents ranging from 3000K to 7500K, but for all intents and purposes: What he said.
     
  6. Boyun

    Boyun TPF Noob!

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    More reasons to shoot with RAW that let you to adjust later.


     
  7. 2WheelPhoto

    2WheelPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Raw..... Yeah but you still want the flash to match the ambient per her statement: "Okay, so I'm starting to get into balancing off camera flash with ambient light"
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    So do you have 4 or 5 different gels for the various colors that might be produced by florescent lights?
    I think that's the issue that the OP is asking about here.

    In terms of balancing flash and ambient, there are two (mostly separate) issues. Balancing the amount of light/exposure, and balancing the color. Balancing the exposure is probably easier and I'd say, it's usually the more important one. If your subject is properly exposed and your WB is accurate on them, then I think that a color shift in the background is (usually) acceptable...especially if it's subtle. The amount of exposure on the background, vs the amount of exposure on the subject will depend on what you want for the shot, sometimes you want less, sometimes more.
    But to really take it to the next level, you can also balance the color (as well as the exposure), that's where using a gel on your flash comes in. Of course, it works best when your gel is matched well to the ambient light source...and providing that your ambient light source is even. If you have multiple color temps from different light sources, you may have some juggling to do. If it's a terrible situation, it might help to change your flash to ambient ratio to drown out the ambient or maybe even let it blow out. Or just convert the image to B&W.

    Of course, you can try to edit color difference is post. LR4 even has a white balance adjustment that can be used selectively via the adjustment brush.
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Won't help.

    I've seen places that use overhead flourescents and tungsten wall sconces. You're getting two different color tones in one photo which can give you three different white balances. Temp shift settings in RAW files don't help with that. It's a matter of the lesser of two evils there; that or just destroy the ambient with flash and not worry about it.
     

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