Archive for October, 2013
Oct 28, 2013
posted in Portraits with 0 Comments

I think most people have a basic idea about white balancing photography.  The wrong white balance will generally result in an unpleasant looking image that is saturated with extreme yellow, green, or blue.  So camera companies give us simplified preset white balance settings.  These are generally auto, florescent, tungsten, sunny, cloudy, shady, etc.  Most cameras will also have a setting for Kelvin and Premeasured white balance.

I think it is safe to say that the average user probably uses Auto white balance simply because it works good enough much of the time, and (more importantly) the user doesn’t have to think about.  They just have to point and shoot.  The more the camera does, the less the user has to worry about.  It sounds logical enough.

The problem is that Auto is the one white balance setting that is not a fixed setting, so it can constantly fluctuate.  Depending on who you are, what you’re shooting, and how important it is to you, this may not be a problem.  For the rest of us that are concerned about color (which you probably are since you’re reading this), it’s better to use a fixed white balance.  The presets are a great place to start, but they rarely seem to work for me.  But the biggest benefit to a fixed white balance setting is that it heavily simplifies your post production work.  Even if every image is shot with the wrong white balance, but is shot in the same lighting conditions, then you can correct one image and have that same correction applied to all of the other images in seconds.  Compare that to correcting each image individually because they each are slightly different because Auto couldn’t make up its mind on what to meter off of.

So now you see why Auto isn’t always the best option.  The next step would be to get correct white balance in camera before you start shooting.  “But,” you may be asking, “I thought that’s what the presets are for.”  They are, but they are not always accurate.  If you want an accurate white balance in camera, then you need to do a custom white balance.  In Nikon cameras, this is Pre in the white balance options.  You can use things such as an 18% gray card, a pure white piece of paper or object, or you can invest in actual tools such as color targets or caps that go on the front of your lens.

I’d suggest you refer to you camera manual for how to create a custom white balance.  But here are some good rules to help you have the best results and simplify the process:

Make sure your exposure is correct.  An under or over exposed exposure will not give you a correct reading.  If you are using a white balance cap of some kind, it may work best using P mode (don’t worry about a long shutter speed).

Turn auto focus off.  You don’t need correct focus for correct white balance.  If the camera gets hung up on trying to focus and can’t, then it can’t capture light to get a measurement.  So it’s sometimes easier to just put your camera on manual focus and let it auto expose.

Make sure the lighting conditions are where you’re shooting.  This sounds obvious, but can still get people.  Don’t white balance for available light and then throw a flash on and expect good color.  Or if you plan to shoot across a large space and the lighting is different from where you’re standing, go get in the light you plan to capture or you may be find yourself measuring the wrong lighting only to question what went wrong later on.

Be mindful of changing lighting conditions.  If the conditions are making constant drastic changes, then you may have to resort to Auto.  But if possible, redo your measured white balance in each new lighting condition.  It’s slightly more work on the front end (seconds really), but it saves tons of time on the back end and gives you a better image to start with.

Here’s a few tool options for you: the White Balance Lens Cap; the ExpoDisc; and a Digital Calibration Target

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

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Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography

www.brandonmalonephotography.com

It seems like a lot of people are having babies here lately.  I wish I could say we were on the list for number two, but we’re not.  But we did get to enjoy sharing some time with our friends Jessica and Ben as we did their maternity portraits.  She found a cute little cream colored dressed, and it just worked perfectly with the location I picked out for them, the National Colonial Farm in Accokeek, MD.  It was really nice because we were almost the only ones there, plus being there in the evening time meant we had better temps and perfect light.  There’s so many places to choose from, and so it was easy finding places to capture their memories.  At the end of the day, my number one rule is that everyone has fun.  I know they had fun and will always remember the pigs too.  Be sure to pass your congrats and well wishes as they are about to transition from the role of pregnancy to parenting.

Maternity picture on a farm

 

Maternity picture on a farm

 

Maternity picture on a farm

 

Maternity picture on a farm

 

Maternity picture on a farm

 

Maternity picture on a farm

 

Maternity picture on a farm

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post please let me know.  I appreciate Likes and Shares when I can get them.  Thanks for reading.

Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography

www.brandonmalonephotography.com