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Hi,

 

How are you doing?

I've started using Kelvins (the K setting on Nikon) for photographing. This is partly to force myself to think as much as photograph, so I ask myself about how to photograph, so I ask questions of myself and my ability rather than just splurge until something sticks in order that I become a better photo/videographer and reporter. Its also to do with my slight snobbery of not using the default settings.

I originally used https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature#Categorizing_different_lighting. Whilst I found it useful for an initial guide its too general.
 
What advice or reputable guides do you have or would you recommend?

I know there is no 'right' or 'wrong' in an absolute sense and sometimes, like on Saturday, I can sort of work it out. However, I am still unsure in situations, like shadow. Its more a general guide that I can use, rather than all the science involved, that I'm after (I don't mind some science as that can be of help and allow me think for myself in situations where its not obvious). I've also photographed in situations where its not an obvious light source (the lightbulb in an art isn't mentioned, so I've just gone for what 'looks right').

Thanks in advance.

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Not sure that I fully understand your question, but If you shoot stills in raw you can change the colour temperature to whatever value you want when doing the raw conversion.

 

I find that my various lenses gives different results with the same camera white balance setting, so it's far preferable to make the adjustment in Lightroom, or whatever software you use, after the event.

 

For shooting video indoors I have found that it probably a good idea to set a custom white balance using a grey card. However my video expertise is just marginally above zero, and others might advise differently.

Edited by Bryan

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Do not get into “exact colour”. Unless you are shooting something like fashion for a sales catalogue, or copying museum paintings, “exact colour” is not that important.

 
Most photographers do not aim for “exact colour”, but they do aim for “pleasing colour”. If it looks right on a colour balanced monitor, then you have “pleasing colour”.
 
There is a default daylight setting for your cameras, and I usually leave it at that.
 
If I do not like the colour, then I change it in post processing, if the file is in RAW format.
 
This assumes that you are shooting RAW. If you are shooting JPG outside, then the default daylight setting is also a good place to start.
 
If you are shooting JPG inside under warm “tungsten” lighting, then you could change your camera colour setting to “tungsten”
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Duke Ellington's statement about music can be applied here: "If it sound good, it is good." And so if it looks good, it is good.

 

When I worked for American Airlines, part of my job was to go up to Chicago and okay the printing on brochures and posters and such. The people who did it before me would be looking at the chromes and trying to match the colors. I didn't do that. I just dealt with the printing, pointing out things like, "That's got too much black," "Can we lighten the red some?" "Can we open up the shadows here?" They were my images after all, so the colors would be what I wanted them to be.  

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One of the advantages of shooting with a Nikon is that their in camera auto white balance is near perfect. Of course the same can be said about Canon as well.

 

Set your camera white balance at auto, it works out great 99% of the time.

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A further thought, your camera will have a scene mode setting, and that will affect the white balance. I once bought a secondhand Canon and it took me a while to realise that the previous owner had the scene mode set to Landscape. I found that this produced very warm colours, not always to my taste. Again, if you are shooting in raw you can change the scene mode as well as the colour temp, during raw conversion in Lightroom.

 

If you shoot JPG rather than raw you are depriving yourself the opportunity to make radical adjustments in post processing. I only shoot JPG if time is of the essence, e.g. live news, and even then it is preferable to select both raw and JPG as output, in case you do need to step in and make changes.

 

My earlier point about video was that, in my limited experience, there is no equivalent to raw shooting for video. There is therefore less scope for correcting the colour balance after the event. I once shot a video sequence indoors which, using the camera's auto white balance, came out horribly yellow, while the videos I have shot in daylight have been fine. Hence the recommendation to set a custom white balance if you shoot video. It's not difficult to do, look at your camera's instruction manual.

Edited by Bryan

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Outdoor most cameras auto WB will return a fairly accurate colour rendition. It's when you move into mixed light that the problems occur. In this scenario I always carry a WhiBal card http://michaeltapesdesign.com/whibal.html

 

Set the camera colour calibration to gray card, shoot the WhiBal and set. Job done and very accurate.

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I am not sure that I completely understand what you (OP) are asking, but I

shoot on commission daily and when I am working with strobes, over 4,000

watts, with softboxes, beauty dishes, etc. Shooting with NIKON D800's in NEF.

I do a manual color balance with a white card for each lighting setup. If I am

shooting in mixed light with strobe fill, 1,000 watts or less, I just use the "Auto

White Balance"  Keep in mind that I am working with 36MP DSLR's and only

shoot in NEF or RAW, so I have a lot of room to color balance.  I do often

shoot items that are color critical, so I do control my "White Balance".  I know

the color balance for my Norman heads with Octadomes, 5,000 with softboxes

4,800 and white umbrellas 4,800 to 5,000K in LR.  On critical work I also shoot

a color chart and gray scale.

 

Note Phomme, No I disagree about NIKON AWB.  Nikon's SONY sensors

have a serious RED GREEN bias and in Manual or AWB I always need to

correct.

Edited by Chuck Nacke

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Question,  Is anyone else seeing a serious warm color shift on

newer NIKONs when shooting NEF or RAW?  I never had this

problem with the old FUJI S2's or 5's.

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Chuck, my Nikon D800 shoots warmer raw files than my D4s, fortunately easily adjustable.

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One of the advantages of shooting with a Nikon is that their in camera auto white balance is near perfect. Of course the same can be said about Canon as well.

 

Set your camera white balance at auto, it works out great 99% of the time.

 

As Chuck says, this is untrue. Anybody who says it is just isn't checking for colour accuracy. I use Nikons by the way.

 

Buy a gray card or a Color Checker Passport (or similar) and compare what the AWB on your camera comes up with in comparison to an accurately measured WB. Whether you need an accurate WB or not depends on the subject - it's very important in my opinion for all colour portraiture and any other colour-critical work (e.g. flower photography).

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 It is all in the eye of the beholder .............. or in the case of Alamy, their customer!

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One of the advantages of shooting with a Nikon is that their in camera auto white balance is near perfect. Of course the same can be said about Canon as well.

 

 

Not about my 5D2, it can't. I shoot on Auto and there is wild variation in the colour temperature of my outdoor shots, the vast majority being wrong (nearly always on the cool side).

 

Alan

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 It is all in the eye of the beholder .............. or in the case of Alamy, their customer!

 

Before making colour temperature adjustments "by eye", it's important to use a calibrated monitor so that adjustments aren't unduly biased.

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 It is all in the eye of the beholder

 

No, white balance neutrality is a scientifically measurable quantity. How it's perceived is certainly in the eye of the beholder, however, and it's amazing how the eye adapts and fools the brain.

 

I've recently had a most interesting experience in this regard as I had lens replacement surgery for cataracts, first in my left eye and then in my right. After the first lens replacement, my left eye was seeing everything as distinctly more blue than the right eye which was seeing everything as more yellow. In fact I hadn't really realised it as the changes were so gradual but looking at supposedly neutral black and white images on my calibrated monitor, the right eye was seeing as if through a mild sepia filter whereas my left was much more neutral. I've had the right eye done now as well so both are the same but it was quite a fascinating experience while it lasted.

Edited by MDM
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Consistency is vital if you mean to produce pleasing images quickly and efficiently – so no auto settings, colour or exposure.  
Any auto setting by it’s nature will vary from one shot to the next, depending on what’s within the frame when you press the button.  
I frequently need to send out images direct from site, sometimes in large-ish numbers, and couldn’t achieve this if each image needed individual attention.  
Pre-setting colour, and being consistent with exposure makes my life much easier…

 

Edit - Jonny, I've no idea if you're currently shooting JPEG or RAW, but first and foremost, shoot RAW. Consistency is difficult to achieve if you're shooting JPEGs.

Edited by TeeCee

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 It is all in the eye of the beholder

 

No, white balance neutrality is a scientifically measurable quantity. How it's perceived is certainly in the eye of the beholder, however, and it's amazing how the eye adapts and fools the brain.

 

I've recently had a most interesting experience in this regard as I had lens replacement surgery for cataracts, first in my left eye and then in my right. After the first lens replacement, my left eye was seeing everything as distinctly more blue than the right eye which was seeing everything as more yellow. In fact I hadn't really realised it as the changes were so gradual but looking at supposedly neutral black and white images on my calibrated monitor, the right eye was seeing as if through a mild sepia filter whereas my left was much more neutral. I've had the right eye done now as well so both are the same but it was quite a fascinating experience while it lasted.

 

I was just about to make essentially the same comment. Post surgery I realized that I'd been making color corrections while looking through what amounts to warming filters.

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 It is all in the eye of the beholder

 

No, white balance neutrality is a scientifically measurable quantity. How it's perceived is certainly in the eye of the beholder, however, and it's amazing how the eye adapts and fools the brain.

 

I've recently had a most interesting experience in this regard as I had lens replacement surgery for cataracts, first in my left eye and then in my right. After the first lens replacement, my left eye was seeing everything as distinctly more blue than the right eye which was seeing everything as more yellow. In fact I hadn't really realised it as the changes were so gradual but looking at supposedly neutral black and white images on my calibrated monitor, the right eye was seeing as if through a mild sepia filter whereas my left was much more neutral. I've had the right eye done now as well so both are the same but it was quite a fascinating experience while it lasted.

 

I was just about to make essentially the same comment. Post surgery I realized that I'd been making color corrections while looking through what amounts to warming filters.

 

 

Actually I didn't realise it until I had the first eye done but it was like looking through a dirty, tobacco-stained filter in comparison to the new, beautifully clear lens. I hadn't noticed it happening of course as it is so gradual and now that both eyes are perfect, I have nothing to compare it to but it is quite incredible - the best upgrade I've ever done.

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Hey folks,

 

Thanks for this.

 

First of all, I'm now shooting raw. It means less frames, but hopefully I'll be better for it.

 

Secondly, to those who asked about what I was asking... Its more that I was looking for tips and pointers. I'm not very good at explaining things as I usually get muddled up in knots, especially when its asking about something I'm unsure about and don't fully understand. I like to be very precise. In a way, I suppose that I was looking for reassurance.

 

Thanks for the tips and the grey card is something I can definitely get. As regards a calibrated monitor that's something for the future, but thanks for the suggestion. I check my photographs on camera first, but put them in lightroom and make my final decision there.

 

I did chimp my test photos and noticed on Saturday that there was a slight yellow tinge on one (5260K) and a very slight blue feel when I set Kelvins to 5880K. I eventually decided on 5560K. However, on Black Friday I was mostly photographing using 5880K - being in the shadow a lot of the day, I went for the compromise between what I go for on a summer's day and what is said to be correct for an overcast day. It felt right, but I didn't have complete confidence that I was right. 3130 is what I've used for stage lighting during a politician's speech and an author's 'in conversation' event.

 

Again, its something that felt right, but I didn't have complete confidence that I was right (as I gain experience I say to myself: 'This light is like that light from the other event when I photographed @ xK and the photos turned out ok'). I just wanted to know if more experienced/better photographers or people with more knowledge than I had any knowledge to share as its the consistency I'm looking for.

 

At times, I've seen Light Temperature/White 'Balance' as a compensation or correction.

 

Thanks for those who have given advice.

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As regards a calibrated monitor that's something for the future, but thanks for the suggestion. I check my photographs on camera first, but put them in lightroom and make my final decision there.

 

..there was a slight yellow tinge on one (5260K) and a very slight blue feel when I set Kelvins to 5880K. I eventually decided on 5560K.

 

 

If you're making fine adjustments I trust you have a good quality monitor or you are going to get it calibrated. I learnt this lesson the hard way. When I first started I was making tweaks to my colour temperature and happily uploading to Alamy. When I reached 500 images I asked on the forum for feedback and was alarmed to be told many of my pictures had a yellow (too warm) tint to them. So I bought a monitor calibration device and was dismayed to find out just how cool (blue) it was based on standard Windows setup.

 

Alternatively, you could ask the forum for feedback on your portfolio to see if they have any comments. I see many of your pictures are headshots taken indoors, so lighting and colour temperature can be quite a challenge, although it isn't perhaps as critical as other subjects/settings? One trick in PS can be to adjust colour balance using skin tone as a reference, if you've not got a neutral grey or white target to work from.

Edited by M.Chapman

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It is all in the eye of the beholder

 

 

No, white balance neutrality is a scientifically measurable quantity. How it's perceived is certainly in the eye of the beholder, however, and it's amazing how the eye adapts and fools the brain.

 

I've recently had a most interesting experience in this regard as I had lens replacement surgery for cataracts, first in my left eye and then in my right. After the first lens replacement, my left eye was seeing everything as distinctly more blue than the right eye which was seeing everything as more yellow. In fact I hadn't really realised it as the changes were so gradual but looking at supposedly neutral black and white images on my calibrated monitor, the right eye was seeing as if through a mild sepia filter whereas my left was much more neutral. I've had the right eye done now as well so both are the same but it was quite a fascinating experience while it lasted.

Same here. I worked for an Ophthalmologist for 10 years and observed cataract surgery and lens implant.

The material within the lens capsule is what gets cloudy, and takes on a yellowish/brown tint. This happens so gradually, you don't notice it, not like having eyes that see perfect color, then putting on a pair of sunglasses and seeing the color shift.

 

So any of you who have developing cataracts, be advised your eyes have already lost some color fidelity.

 

Years ago, I took a watercolor painting class. One man, at least in his 70s, painted horribly off colors. Knowing what I knew about cataracts, I pretty much knew why he was not seeing colors correctly.

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