Set up custom white balance

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by davholla, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am thinking of doing this to make sure that my macro flash has the right white balance.

    I think I know what to do but, how do I get the reference white colour? Can I use something like an envelope or should it be something else?

    Or do I have to buy something?


     
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  2. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've not tried this yet but....

    My camera manual calls out either a neutral grey or white target. I would lean towards buying a target made for this but experimenting with using an envelope may work just as well.
     
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, you have to buy a sandwich. Don't get ketchup on the white styrofoam box lid. Or if you happen to have a white styrofoam plate, those will work, too.
     
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  4. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but I actually painted the entire interior of my house in a neutral gray, so I will always have a wb target in any interior shot.
     
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  5. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    When I started using studio lighting I didn’t have a neutral grey card so I went to the paint section of the hardware store and grabbed one of the paint swatches with tree or four shades of medium to light grey. Worked perfectly and I still have it a couple of years later.
    Easy and free. You can’t beat that. Lol


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  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've bought pretty much every WB tool known to man from EXPO Discs to a multitude of targets. The ONLY time I use them now is when I need an exact, consistent WB over a range of conditions (product for on-line sale). Otherwise, I shoot raw, do a rough WB by picking a white target in the scene, and adjusting by eye 'til I like it.
     
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  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Technically for color 18% gray is the ideal target, but all the above mentioned work also. However, I suspect I'd have a hard time convincing my wife to paint all the walls gray like @zulu42 suggested. LOL
     
  8. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The most accurate way to obtain a truly neutral WB is to use a known target. Paper, cloth, paint and ink pigments can fluoresce under flash illumination if you just grab what you think may be a neutral grey or white. Of course your need for accuracy depends on your needs and desires and if a client is actually paying you for authentically representing the subject.

    There are a host of WB target products to choose from, if you want accuracy, pick one and use it consistently. Some people like the Colour Checker Passport since it is portable and comes in it's own protective case and also lets you create camera profiles. Keep in mind that many WB targets will fade or shift to a bias if exposed to light over time, IIRC Kodak used to date their grey cards so one knew how long it was in service.
     
  9. Photo Lady

    Photo Lady Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Back in my Fuji S2 Pro days when I was shooting a lot in jpeg mode I took a custom white balance in the backyard around 4 p.m. in the summer months and I had great success with that. Our house was located at the very foot of a very large Hill covered with Douglas fir trees so there was a lot of green in the ambient light.

    One unusual white balance target that I used to use was white clouds in the sky, thrown well out of focus.

    I now very seldom take a custom white balance, but often input known Kelvin readings.

    Back in the early 2000s, before Raw capture was Universal, there was a lot of attention paid to white balance issues, targets, and methodologies. Now with the increase in sophistication in image processing software and the more near-universal acceptance of shooting in raw, there is a lot less attention paid to the subject. My experience is that a custom white balance can greatly improve your results based upon the actual shooting environment. When I say large hill covered with fir trees, I mean about a two thousand acre forested range, not just a 40 by 50 Foot Hill. I remember one UK fellow whose neighborhood white balance experiments inspired my own. He took different white balance settings at different times of the day and I found that in June,July,August , and September,in my neighborhood, that a reading taken around 4 p.m. off of a neutral white Target gave outstanding results throughout much of the day, but the last hour of the day I was better off using the S2 Pro's automatic white balance setting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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  11. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This was some of the best advice I have gotten on this forum. White styrofoam plates seem to be a better reference than any gray/white card I have used, and I have quite a few of them. Here's a 21-pack for less than $2.

    Here is a similar thread from 2017 where I asked the same question and received the same great advice from @Ysarex and @tirediron.

    If you don't have a good white balance reference in your shot, this is the technique I use most often.
     
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  12. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The best part of that deal is that you still have 20 more plates to use as plates!
     
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