Where To put white balance card?

TehYoyo

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I have a white balance card that I use to (obviously) set white balance.

Question: Where do I position the card so that I get accurate white balance. Let's say I'm shooting during the golden hour - should I set white balance with the card reflecting the sun (i.e. sun shining on card) or when the sun isn't shining directly on the card?

Thanks,
TehYoyo
 

480sparky

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Aim it towards the camera. That's all you need to do. Just make it large enough in the frame that your PP software can utilize it.

If your subject is in the sun, place the card in the sun. If the subject is in a shadow, place the card in the shadow.
 

tirediron

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Ideally, put the card right in front of the subject. If the subject is a person, have them hold it in front of their face and move in close so that it takes up a good part of the frame, but ensure that you don't cause any shadows to fall on the card.
 

Helen B

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In addition to the previous good answers:
You may not want to set an 'accurate' WB by using a neutral target during the Golden Hour. This is one of those situations when you might use a preset - in this case daylight - so that you get the warm character of the light. It's an artistic choice rather than a technical one. Theatrical lighting is a similar situation: you wouldn't white balance to the filtered lights, but to the unfiltered light (usually tungsten) and a preset can be used if the unfiltered light is not readily available.
 

480sparky

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If WB is critical, shoot raw. Then you can adjust the WB to anything you want in post.
 

hirejn

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To maintain the golden richness of magic hour, I use a sunny preset. If you balance out the golden cast, you defeat the purpose of shooting at magic hour. But the answer is technically you place the card in the same light as your subject and position it toward the camera. What I do with directional light is actually position the card so it catches the light directly (in the case of overhead light this is irrelevant). The card should be exposed reasonably well. You'll find that for simple lighting setups, the presets work well, if not perfectly. If you really get into this, check out the ColorChecker Passport, which has swatches that enable you to warm and cool the WB in post with just a click, and it enables you to create color profiles in RAW for unmatched color accuracy. If you've noticed cameras being unable to record purples accurately, the CC fixes that instantly.
 
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TehYoyo

TehYoyo

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Note: I always shoot in raw.

My problem arose when I was shooting a baseball game - I switched angles a lot, so the sun was in different places. Also, I couldn't have the pitcher hold the card for me! I ended up sticking it on auto (which worked OK, I guess). I'll correct in post, I suppose.

That sound good?
 

MarshallG

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Note: I always shoot in raw.

My problem arose when I was shooting a baseball game - I switched angles a lot, so the sun was in different places. Also, I couldn't have the pitcher hold the card for me! I ended up sticking it on auto (which worked OK, I guess). I'll correct in post, I suppose.

That sound good?
The white balance shouldn't change just because your viewing angle changed. For this reason, I think it's a little better to set a fixed white balance, and you can always batch-change them in post. But individually changing each one would be a pain. Although shooting RAW means WB is just a starting point, another advantage to a manual WB is that it's one less calculation for the processors, which frees them up for exposure, or focusing, or whatever else they're doing.

But I firmly believe that there's more than one way to do it.
 

Gavjenks

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Note that if you are adjusting WB in post, there is no need to fill the whole frame with your WB card. You can just hold it somewhere in the frame, any frame, once per change in lighting source. Then in post, just do a point sample with your eyedropper on the part of the image with the card, and look how many units it is away from neutral in each color channel, then batch adjust the opposite in all the photos.

Also, it shouldn't matter if you were moving around at a baseball game or shade vs. sunny areas. The sun is the sun. It has a certain temperature to it, and you only need one white balance to properly colorize every shot you take lit by the sun, as long as it is still midday, and the colors are not yet changing for sunset.

Your EXPOSURE would need to be adjusted constantly based on shadow or not shadow, but not your white balance. You would only need to change that if, say, you walked inside the stadium to buy a hotdog and wanted to take a photo in the tungsten or fluorescent concessions area lighting.
 

480sparky

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........ Then in post, just do a point sample with your eyedropper on the part of the image with the card, and look how many units it is away from neutral in each color channel, then batch adjust the opposite in all the photos.............


What software do you use that makes you do that? All I've ever done is hit the gray card with the eyedropper the the software adjusts all three color channels so they're equal, and then takes the rest of the frame along for the ride.
 

KmH

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Camera Raw (ACR) shows the RGB values near the lower left corner of the Histogram display wherever in the image the cursor is.

Though both Camera Raw and Lightroom's Develop module both use ACR, the Develop module does not have the same feature.

Using Camera Raw I often use a neutral gray, or a very close to neutral gray area of a photo that has been made without a gray card to click the White Balance tool on.

If you don't have a gray card:
An Easy Way To Find Neutral Gray In A Photo With Photoshop
 

Gavjenks

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........ Then in post, just do a point sample with your eyedropper on the part of the image with the card, and look how many units it is away from neutral in each color channel, then batch adjust the opposite in all the photos.............


What software do you use that makes you do that? All I've ever done is hit the gray card with the eyedropper the the software adjusts all three color channels so they're equal, and then takes the rest of the frame along for the ride.

Uh, photoshop CS5? The eyedropper's normal function simply sets your working color to whatever the pixel under your cursor is. It doesn't adjust anything in the image. At least not normal left click.

Maybe there are some settings somewhere you can change to alter its behavior to do so, but the default does not edit the image. I'd love to know how to do what you're saying if this program can do it that easily.
 

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