I've tried both the eye dropper on pavements and eyes and I can't get it to work reliably. Pavements tend to have varying degrees of mostly brown dirt/dust causing the pictures to turn out too cold. The eyes have veins and reflections that mess up white balance. Teeth are yellow. "White" paper and clothes varies with UV levels because of optical brightening agents in coatings and detergents. White walls are often slightly yellow.ahsanford said:100% on how powerful proper WB is. I'll give you my enthusiast goulash of WB management moves for general shooting:CanonFanBoy said:Then I started to play with the manual Kelvin settings. Wow! I was able to get the colors and mood to look exactly like my eye was seeing them. Very exciting for an amateur like me. I really need to explore and learn my settings better. I can see how this might also be used as a powerful creative tool.
Is there a quicker way to dial this in other than trial and error? I have a good Sekonic light meter and color checker passport I have not learned to use yet. Would that help?
(Professionals, please step away from this post as you will recoil in horror at my bush-league read of WB considerations)
I shoot RAW + JPG always unless you are card / buffer constrained (i.e. shooting high fps work). I leave mine on auto WB as (you guessed it) the RAW file can manage that in post.
I sift through my keepers and funnel them through ACR for my typical 2-3 minute slider tinkering -- not major surgery if I did my job right in-camera. Besides the obvious things you tinker with in post, I toggle between accepting (a) the AWB output, using the (b) 'As Shot' WB option or (c) going in and selecting the WB myself. If I do it myself, I eye-dropper / select a available light gray tone in the scene (hunt for pavement if you can) or I eye-dropper the whites of the subject's eyes and manually adjust the temp/tint to taste.
I also have a gray card in my wallet. Almost never use it.
If you have a well calibrated monitor in a room with neutral colours and good-quality lighting, you might get really close by adjusting to taste but the tint is still really tricky to get right even with practice. What I prefer to do nowadays is not go for correct white balance and just edit a series to visual similarity. Unless it is one of my more elaborate portrait setups with flashes, backgrounds and stuff, but there I tend to just trust the colour stability of my Elinchroms.