To white balance or not?

Hello all,
I'm about to start a painting of a friend's pet but the source photo is not the best. Taken on a phone in artificial light (generic indoor lightbulb). Would it be best to white balance the image which may throw off some tones and values or just paint 'what I see'?
Thanks.

Comments

  • Intothevoid

    Anything you can do to improve the jaundiced indoor light is an improvement.

    If the friend’s pet is still available take a decent photo. Nothing worse than a great painting of a bad photo.

    Denis
  • If you post the source photo I'll see if I can improve it for you :)
  • This is a crop from a much larger photo of the said dog just kind of standing on a mat looking like a log on sticks so this is the best image I can get from the photo. It is tricky because it is the only photo and it is a surprise present so can't really ask for more images. 
    I am planning on altering the background to a darker more 'spotlighted' ambiance.




  • Really difficult image to work with!

    This is the best I can do. It might be a bit over processed, but it might help you:



  • @Richard_P
    Hey thanks for the effort! It is a pretty horrific image to work from but you improved it better than my attempts.

  • CBGCBG -
    edited February 13
    Hello all,
    I'm about to start a painting of a friend's pet but the source photo is not the best. Taken on a phone in artificial light (generic indoor lightbulb). Would it be best to white balance the image which may throw off some tones and values or just paint 'what I see'?
    Thanks.
    What you see in terms of balance has possibly already been distorted/processed by the camera.

    I think white balancing generally is a good way to extract the true color of objects without extracting the lighting… that’s the point.  If your subject is in warm sunset sunlight and cool shade I’d avoid white balancing or at least be very careful with it.  Here you have a simple subject which you are trying to capture true to life, whereas the particular tone of the lighting of the shot (here) is completely immaterial.

    So I suggest you try to white balance a true grey thing in the image to grey.  Keep in mind that whites of eyes, dogs teeth (none here), and even a dogs “white” or “grey” hairs are not actually neutral greyscale but in reality usually have some yellow beige components.

    Painting the colors of the dog as they actually are (using a properly white balanced photo) means the painting will look like the dog in whatever lighting the painting eventually finds itself in.  and IMHO you can’t do any better than that!

    Looks like that white baseboard might be true grey and a great place to start!

  • edited February 13
    @CBG
    Yes the baseboard is a good pick, my attempt I went for the shadow of the white in the coat at the front though it probably wasn't the best choice.
  • This was an interesting thread.  I actually tried this in my photo editing program and used the exposure settings and got pretty much the same edited version as @Richard_P did.  I hope you will share your finished version of this painting @Intothevoid if you use this photo.  I follow an artist on FB, Paul J. Art, who takes photographs of his subjects himself in order to get a good pic.  
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