The joy of proper white balance.

hne

Gear limits your creativity
Jan 8, 2016
301
17
ahsanford said:
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.

[truncated]

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?
100% on how powerful proper WB is. I'll give you my enthusiast goulash of WB management moves for general shooting:

(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.

- A
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.

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.
 

Pippan

EOS M50
Mar 30, 2016
45
0
hne said:
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.

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.
So much work when it's so quick and easy to do a light source profile with a Colorchecker and get it spot on.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,972
502
Pippan said:
So much work when it's so quick and easy to do a light source profile with a Colorchecker and get it spot on.
Understood, but when 99% of this enthusiast's work is not in controlled lighting conditions and those conditions are constantly changing, using a color checker is 100% off the table.

Full respect for professionals who do it right, but I don't do portraiture sessions or studio work. I live my life and my camera comes along. Nothing is scripted, planned, or offers the time to do the make the proper technical decisions, and if I tell my subject (who I may honestly not know) that they just need to hold this doodad for me, the moment and shot is lost. It all must be managed in post on a shot by shot basis for me.

- A
 

Pippan

EOS M50
Mar 30, 2016
45
0
ahsanford said:
Understood, but when 99% of this enthusiast's work is not in controlled lighting conditions and those conditions are constantly changing, using a color checker is 100% off the table.

Full respect for professionals who do it right, but I don't do portraiture sessions or studio work. I live my life and my camera comes along. Nothing is scripted, planned, or offers the time to do the make the proper technical decisions, and if I tell my subject (who I may honestly not know) that they just need to hold this doodad for me, the moment and shot is lost. It all must be managed in post on a shot by shot basis for me.

- A
Understood if your light source is always different. Most of my pictures are made outside in and around the national parks I take tourists to. For nearly all of these the light source is the sun; one Colorchecker shot around midday does me for the day's photos (well, maybe one for shade too) and keeps golden hour looking golden. As the sun's light is always the same (although affected by atmospherics), yesterday's Colorchecker shot will do for today if I forget. Or last year's. And it takes into account sensor sensitivity to different wavelengths, lens coatings, filters etc.

I still occasionally tweak it to taste, it just helps if I start with it spot on.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,218
782
It doesn’t need to be a hassle.

I make a daylight profile for all my lenses, than a profile with my Siros L light, then a tungsten etc etc. So before even
Shooting I have the profiles for that light at home. And if the sources are mixed I can do another sample or simply use the one that’s closest to the dominant source.

Then when shooting I just bring my CBL wb tool, small light and can take rain and a beating. And if something happens fast, I just get the shot not worrying about wb or anything else, then when I have the shot I take custom wb sample on the same spot and eyedrop that later when I get home. Perfect wb and color done the easy way.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,580
152
CanonFanBoy said:
I have no idea why the color isn't right when I post here. It never is. If I click on the photo it is fine. Otherwise, yuck!
The images are PNGs - if you click them you get the JPEGs - probably something goes wrong when the PNGs are generated, or they lack color profile information.

I see your JPEGs are in ProPhoto RGB, usually not a good choice for posting images on the internet, usually it's better to convert them to sRGB - after all most monitor can't show anything larger, and I don't know if common OS have a ProPhoto RGB ICC profile for the conversion available.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
I think browsers tend to assume sRGB color space. Safari and maybe others are capable of color management if you include a color profile it can read. But for the most part, the safest move for the web is to post sRGB pictures. JPEGs and PNGs produced by the "save for web" modules in Photoshop tend to use sRGB as the default, whatever the original is in.
 

Tyroop

EOS 80D
Jun 30, 2013
124
12
Seems a bit early to be decorating Christmas trees, but I haven't lived in a country that celebrates Christmas for a long a time so I'm probably out of touch. I will soon face pressure from my kids to erect a tree, but I wasn't planning to do it until next month!
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,580
152
stevelee said:
I think browsers tend to assume sRGB color space. Safari and maybe others are capable of color management if you include a color profile it can read.
Main PC browsers (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari) today are AFAIK color managed, at least on platforms were color management is enabled by default (it is in Windows and macOS, on some Linux you may have to enable it). Hope they all support also v4 profiles now, not only v2. IE11 does, In Firefox you may have to enable explicitly v4 profiles support. Don't know about Chrome and Safari.

On tablet and smartphones, the latest version should be color managed as well - older ones may be not.

You can test your browser(s) here: http://cameratico.com/tools/web-browser-color-management-test/
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,113
1,670
Irving, Texas
I'm still looking for my Expodisk. Most everything I have is packed up for the move. Got back from Texas tuesday and went through my raw photos. I used the eyedropper method and I am very happy with the results. Adjusting the WB made things a whole lot easier. Don't mind the text in the photos. Did that for my daughter. I need to make sure I have the depth of field right. Too shallow in some of these.

Got the color management fixed. Thank all of you for your help. :)
 

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CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,113
1,670
Irving, Texas
Tyroop said:
Seems a bit early to be decorating Christmas trees, but I haven't lived in a country that celebrates Christmas for a long a time so I'm probably out of touch. I will soon face pressure from my kids to erect a tree, but I wasn't planning to do it until next month!
We've always decorated right after Thanksgiving. This is a few days early as they were leaving for Mississippi the next day. It's also my grandson's first Christmas, so my daughter is a little excited.
 

sanj

EOS 5D MK IV
Jan 22, 2012
3,204
75
drmikeinpdx said:
sanj said:
Shooting in RAW and correcting in post has worked for me 98% of the time.
Same here, but if you are shooting under colorful stage lights or christmas tree lights, you have to let the actual colors stay in the final image. You aren't going to get normal skin tones under those conditions, no matter what you do in Lightroom.
Yes of course. Or it will end up looking bland. Same analogy with sunsets...
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
LDS said:
stevelee said:
I think browsers tend to assume sRGB color space. Safari and maybe others are capable of color management if you include a color profile it can read.
Main PC browsers (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari) today are AFAIK color managed, at least on platforms were color management is enabled by default (it is in Windows and macOS, on some Linux you may have to enable it). Hope they all support also v4 profiles now, not only v2. IE11 does, In Firefox you may have to enable explicitly v4 profiles support. Don't know about Chrome and Safari.

On tablet and smartphones, the latest version should be color managed as well - older ones may be not.

You can test your browser(s) here: http://cameratico.com/tools/web-browser-color-management-test/
I just tried that test with Safari on my iPad. It passed all the tests except for the “how far” red, and to a slight extent the green.