White balance

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  • Tonka 29 Feb 2012 06:42:35 20,819 posts
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    How do you guys deal with candle light?
    The last few christmases I've had the same problem. Auto WB gives me too orangey pictures but if I set the WB manually I end up with images that looks as if they were shot during the day.

    What am I missing? How can I get it so that the image looks like what I see? Halfway in between the auto WB and the manual so to speak.

    When I say manual I mean that I point it at something white and take a snaphot of that and then the camera does some calculations. Capture WB maybe?

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  • smoothpete 29 Feb 2012 07:15:12 31,581 posts
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    Yeah you would do what you've described, take a photo of something white, and say to the camera "hey, this thing is white"

    Or just fix it afterwards. I assume you are using RAW?
  • Tonka 29 Feb 2012 07:27:19 20,819 posts
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    No, I shoot in jpg. I know it's kind of stupid but I rarely have time to go over my images afterwards and when I do I just get frustrated that I'm shit at it.

    But how do I get a light that is more like what I see? Do I do it wrong?

    Here's an example. The colors in this are "correct" in that the white is white and the red is red etc. But seen with the naked eye everything had an orange tint and looked more like this.

    What to do? Would one of those neutral grey cards work better?

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  • mal 29 Feb 2012 08:05:36 22,710 posts
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    No, using a card won't help. You're telling the camera 'this white/grey card that looks a bit orangey in this light should look white/grey'. You could try calibrating against a slightly cool grey card to warm up the white balance I guess - though you'll have to experiment to find out what works for you.

    Personally I just shoot this stuff in RAW and fuck about with it later though.

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  • HermanTheTosser 29 Feb 2012 08:09:10 82 posts
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    From the title of this thread, I thought it was going to contain something racial.
  • kalel 29 Feb 2012 08:32:08 88,453 posts
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    I don't understand why the white card thing wouldn't work. Surely that's what they're for?

    That said, it can't be that much trouble to just use RAW and fix it later. People make way too much fuss about processing RAWs. It takes no time at all.
  • henro_ben 29 Feb 2012 08:41:52 2,220 posts
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    It won't work because they're for adjusting the WB to remove a colour cast - whilst Tonka wants to keep the colour cast, just less of it I guess.

    Another vote for RAW from me, much quicker & easier than faffing about with WB at the time, plus you'll have far more control over the end result.
  • mal 29 Feb 2012 08:48:17 22,710 posts
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    The grey card wouldn't work because he's deliberately not trying to get perfect white balance as I understand him. He's trying to get a naturalistic warm tone.

    Another thing you could do to warm the scene up is change the lighting while you calibrate - calibrate using a grey/white card under daylight or electric light, then close the curtains/turn off the light and shoot with those WB settings.

    But yeah, RAW is quick and easy and lets you fiddle with white balance to your heart's content if you want to.

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  • ram 29 Feb 2012 08:59:57 3,483 posts
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    Try photographing the white card whilst in the candle light.
  • UncleLou Moderator 29 Feb 2012 09:03:28 35,718 posts
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    Using a white card will make whites white, which is exactly what you do not want when you're photographing in candlelight (or a sunset, for that matter). :) Or am I missing something here?

    Edited by UncleLou at 09:03:46 29-02-2012
  • Tonka 29 Feb 2012 09:19:06 20,819 posts
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    henro_ben wrote:
    It won't work because they're for adjusting the WB to remove a colour cast - whilst Tonka wants to keep the colour cast, just less of it I guess.
    Yes, this. Exactly.

    henro_ben wrote:
    Another vote for RAW from me, much quicker & easier than faffing about with WB at the time, plus you'll have far more control over the end result.
    So it doesnt matter at all what setting the WB is at the time of shooting if I do it in RAW?

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  • Tonka 29 Feb 2012 09:21:51 20,819 posts
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    As a side note (or question). What do you prefer for candel light scenes? The "correct" colors where white is white etc or colors that show the conditions at the time of shooting?

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  • mal 29 Feb 2012 09:27:29 22,710 posts
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    Yes, the camera WB setting doesn't matter when shooting RAW. Most RAW processors will be able to pick up the camera settings if you still want to use them, but you can ignore that completely.

    Personally I do tend to warm up most indoor shots, and candlelit ones especially, but then my white balance control is all over the place. I really should just pick a white balance and batch process.

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  • henro_ben 29 Feb 2012 09:31:28 2,220 posts
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    You need to keep some of the warmth in my opinion, otherwise what's the point of lighting with candles!?

    Candlelight's around 1800K I think - setting the white balance to 2000K (ish) should give you more or less correct colours but still keep a warm tone to the shot. You'll have to play around a bit.

    Basically the lower the number on the WB setting, the more blue is being added in (as the light is more yellow/orange), the higher the number the more yellow is being added in (as the light is more blue).
  • Tonka 29 Feb 2012 09:53:01 20,819 posts
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    @henro_ben Cheers for the tip. Will try it out next time. Never got around to play with the K settings.

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