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Questions about how to choose the correct colour balance for a given scene, and how it affects photos.

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68
votes
6answers
12k views

Do fluorescent lighting and shutter speed create a problem with color cast?

I took a bunch of photos at my son's martial arts club using a D90 with a 50mm F1.8. The club is lit with overhead fluorescent lighting, and I was getting some weird results where some shots are ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Does Auto White-Balance Really Work? How?

I don't understand how the camera can work out the white-balance to use in a given scene. I could see it working if there is an obvious colour-cast (for example: under fluorescent lights). Does it ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “white balance”?

I would like to understand the term white balance. My camera has settings for white balance with the following options: Auto white balance Daylight Cloudy Shade Flash Incandescent lights White set1 ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Why can I adjust the white balance of a RAW file but not a JPEG file?

I recently started setting my DSLR to save RAW files, and using Adobe Lightroom to process them. I still, however, use my little point and shoot camera a lot which does not have an option to save RAW ...
22
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I properly white-balance my photographs when I'm shooting in mixed-lighting environments?

I have a dSLR and I often find myself taking pictures of people in 'mixed lighting' environments (e.g. tungsten lighting and daylight, fluorescent and tungsten, or even the ‘nightmare lighting ...
21
votes
3answers
6k views

What is Universal White Balance (UniWB)?

How and in what kind of situations should it be used?
21
votes
4answers
6k views

How do you use a gray card?

There are already two questions on how to make a gray card, but unfortunately my ignorance goes deeper than that. How do you use a gray card?
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Does the camera white balance setting affect the raw image at all?

Does a DSLR's white balance setting (whether a preset like cloudy or a custom WB setting) affect the raw file at all, or does that setting only determine the WB of the JPG that the camera generates? ...
18
votes
2answers
638 views

Photographing Lightning Strikes: White Balance

I'm getting the hang of manual white balance and I haven't yet shot lightning strikes in a storm but I may this summer. What would be a safe white balance to deal with the fact that lightning is ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the white balance of film?

As opposed to digital photography, the white balance in film photography is fixed, cannot be changed easily after taking the shot and depends on the film. But what is the white balance of film? I know ...
16
votes
3answers
21k views

What white point temperature should I set my LCD monitor to?

I've got the Xrite Eye One Display 2, and tried the advanced calibration today for the first time. It asked what white point I wanted, and had a default of 6500K. I didn't realize that was up for ...
16
votes
1answer
773 views

Will I lose image quality by adjusting white balance in post processing?

I understand that if I shoot in RAW, post processing software like Lightroom is capable of adjusting colour temperature and tint to my desire. Will I lose any image quality in process? Or is it as ...
15
votes
4answers
11k views

Best fluorescent bulb color temperature for shooting people and interviews?

I have a small, ultra white matte 13x10 room that I need to photograph and film people in. The most important thing to me is a person's skin color. Something like this. Yesterday I purchased some ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

If shooting RAW, is the white balance selected in camera irrelevant for exposure?

I have read the existing question - Does the camera white balance setting affect the raw image at all? After reading the above post, I am still not clear on the part around exposure. Is it possible ...
15
votes
8answers
1k views

What does the Custom White-Balance *icon* represent?

I already know what White Balance is (at least enough to get by!) I already know what Custom White Balance is. All of the pre-configured White Balance options on the Canon DSLRs have meaningful icons ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

Nikon RAW image processing in non-Nikon software

I love Adobe Lightroom, the workflow, the interface, the whole package. However, as a Nikon owner never did I manage to get the colors to look as good as after processing with Capture NX. No doubt ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Techniques to set custom white balance?

What technique should I be using to set a custom white balance i.e. white card, grey card, white balance lens cap etc or does it depend on the situation?
14
votes
1answer
308 views

Gray card angle during custom white balance calibration - does it matter?

Do I have to have the gray card on a specific angle while taking a photo for custom white balance calibration? Or it is irrelevant? I am guessing that the gray card plane should be perpendicular (90 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How does the colour of ambient lighting affect colour rendition?

How does the colour of ambient lighting affect colour rendition? For example: If I stand under a sodium-vapour (orange) streetlight and calibrate my camera's white balance, what effect would this ...
13
votes
5answers
969 views

What is WB bracketing used for?

I found out that I can bracket white balance in camera on my 550D. When is this useful?
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Why are greycards used for white balance?

I know 18% grey cards are supposed to provide a neutral color to set custom white balance. But why are grey cards used instead of pure white ones? My assumptions: Is a specific greytone easier to ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How can correctly measure light using a built-in camera meter?

Many times I shot photos, but the photo is some times too bright or too dark and the colors are incorrect. Some times the white on the photo is not the white that I have on background but gray and I ...
12
votes
3answers
643 views

How does a camera implement different white balance modes?

My camera (Nikon D7100) has several modes for white balance. I'm wondering what happens when I chose different options. What does it do internally? Does it change intensity of components of the color ...
12
votes
8answers
566 views

How to set tint if one is colour blind?

How should someone with red-green deficiency in colour vision set tint in Lightroom or other post-processing tools?? Are there any external tools (other than asking someone) that say whether white ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What is color temperature and how does it affect my photography?

I have seen color temperature mentioned with regard to white balance, mixing different sources of light, etc., but I haven't come across a clear explanation of what it means to talk about the ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

When should I use manual white balance settings?

There are several white balance settings on the Nikon D80 including one that is automatic. I normally don't use it although I wonder what settings others use. So the question: What are ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I correct white balance in JPEG images?

A friend of mine accidentally shot a load of photos with the white-balance on his camera set to "Tungsten". Is there an easy way to correct the resultant colour cast with Photoshop?
11
votes
2answers
5k views

How can color temperature be measured using a digital camera?

I know that one can photograph a color-neutral card (white, gray, black) and use it for white balance, either in-camera or in post-processing. Using an image of a color-neutral card taken under given ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Can I make my own Expodisc?

I've been contemplating the purchase of an Expodisc to finally be rid of most white balance corrections. The price is a little steep for me, however. I was wondering, is there a way to make something ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Putting the red back into underwater photographs

I've just come back from the Red Sea and took my camera along on most of my dives. I do have an external strobe, but for most of the shots the light was so strong that the camera didn't fire it. The ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is custom white balance in Canon DSLR's so cumbersome?

I've always wondered why custom setting the white balance in Canon dslr's (focus on white surface, take picture, goto menu, goto define custom white balance, choose picture, validate) is so much more ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

Can I set Lightroom's white balance picker tool to choose a supposedly white/black spot instead of neutral grey? Or should I care?

I'm correcting white balance issues for my photos in Adobe Lightroom 3. The white balance picker tool in the Develop module lets me to pick a light neutral grey spot in the picture from which ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Why would D90 preset white balance be no good?

How can I be sure to get a "good" preset white balance reading? The only thing I know to make sure is that the card fills the frame. Many times I get the "no good" indication when I shoot the gray ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

When editing white balance on a computer, should I tweak tint or temperature first?

Changing the value of one affects the appearance of the other, hence it makes a difference whether you change the tint value first and then move on to the temperature, or the other way around.
8
votes
3answers
978 views

How to take photos of children in difficult lighting?

I recently went to a one-year-old's birthday party. The event took place inside; there was some light coming through the windows from outside and there was also light from the lightbulbs in the room, ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

How does Photoshop/Lightroom get the Colour temperature of a Raw image?

I captured a Raw image using my Canon 450D. When imported this RAW(CR2) file into Lightroom and Photoshop CS5, it showed the Temperature as 4900 and White Balance setting - "As shot". When I checked ...
8
votes
2answers
278 views

Is there software which can identify the lighting in an existing photo?

Is there an application that will take a selected region of a photo, and return its estimate of the lighting parameters required to emulate the lighting conditions in the selected region of the photo? ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How do you white balance for a dance floor?

I was trying to take pictures of people on the dance floor at a big birthday party. With a disco ball, green laser lights, and other flashing lights of various colors, how do you get the white ...
8
votes
3answers
346 views

How did Matt Grum color correct the images in “Why is the Fluorescent filter for a flash green?”?

I saw in another question - "Why is the Fluorescent filter for a flash green?" - that Matt Grum had amazingly color corrected two images and would love to know how. Of course, all are invited to ...
8
votes
1answer
127 views

Should I reuse a custom white balance for the same scene but with a different lens?

Let's say I'm shooting from a tripod to an exact spot, I set a custom white balance with a gray card and then I switch lens. Should I redo the custom white balance?
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the easiest way to alter white balance in Gimp?

Let's say I've accidentally shot my pictures on "sunny" white balace when I should have used "shade". What is the easiest way to warm the pictures up a bit in Gimp? The "Colors/Color balance" tool ...
7
votes
6answers
303 views

If shooting in RAW and processing, why still care about WB?

WB is obviously important for JPGs and I'm not referring to JPGs here. I do know this question is related to two others. Sorry, I'm a newbie here and I don't know how to refer to them, but @Craig ...
7
votes
2answers
827 views

Is a white sheet of paper as good as grey card?

Can I use a white sheet of paper instead of the grey card for white balance calibration? I actually tried and it works not bad at all. I know the grey card is calibrated etc, but does it really ...
7
votes
1answer
305 views

How can I use CMYK values to white balance skin?

I recently heard a photographer mention that they: ...adjusted the white balance using the CMYK method I did a bit of searching on this and found different resources claiming to use formulas ...
7
votes
3answers
363 views

How do I adjust colour casts between photos taken at different times?

I have several photos of similar subjects on the same background. As they were taken outside at different times, the lighting conditions are different, and so the colours in the photos aren't ...
7
votes
2answers
677 views

How to determine optimal color correction filters for a sensor?

Originally, this question was titled: How to detemine native color temperature of a sensor? For questions about warming filters and color filters in general, leading answers indicate that for optimal ...
7
votes
2answers
291 views

White balance adjustment using gray card

I need some advice regarding white balance adjustment. I was using a gray card when shooting a series of photos in a forest, because I found the light a bit tricky there. The plan was to set the ...
7
votes
4answers
9k views

Does Gimp have a Match Color function similar to that in Adobe Photoshop?

In a recent question, Steve Ross points out that Adobe Photoshop has a useful feature for matching color between photographs. Of course, color adjustment can be accomplished in Gimp with careful use ...
6
votes
5answers
727 views

What white balance settings do I need to capture the cast of a coloured streetlight?

I want take a photo of a scene lit by a yellow-orange street light. Unlike many of the questions here, I don't want to balance the colours in the scene, rather I want the areas lit by that light to ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How does aperture size or shutter speed affect color temperature?

With all other parameters assumed constant, does aperture size or duration of exposure have any effect on the resulting color warmth or vividness? (Even slightly.) While answering please also ...