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Which white balance card should I use?

SummerSummer -
edited December 2015 in Photography & Printmaking
@David_Quinn_Carder or anyone else who knows this answer.  I'm led to believe that if I set a custom white balance with a white card for exposure or grey card for color balance, that all the other colors will follow suit and be correct.  This theory is what I have been shooting with in raw for several months now instead of relying on an automatic camera setting and post production for white balance.  If this is true, then what should I do with the card that has white, grey, black and eleven other colors and neutrals--and when should I use this colorful card?  Is this multi-hued card superfluous?  Thanks folks.  Summer 

Comments

  • edited December 2015
    I've been using the WhiBal G7 that David recommended in the  Advance Photography Guide


    People use it for setting white balance in-camera or in post production. I haven't tried the in-camera method with it yet so I can't tell you if there's any difference when comparing the two.


    In this video an ExpoDisc is also used which seems to be another favorite for setting in-camera WB.






    I'm assuming the colorful card you're talking about is the ColorChecker Passport



    People use the big white/gray card the same way as the WhiBal and all the colorful swatches are used in post-production to create a color profile in Lightroom. The two rows of warm and cool grays you see at the top were meant for setting the WB for either portraits or landscapes but you can use them for warming or cooling the colors on whatever photo you want.






    Summer[Deleted User]
  • @Castillo  Thanks.  I have been using the card that David recommends and others, but I was curious why and how this other color card was used.  It looks like I have some more mulling over to do.  :)
  • edited December 2015
    Summer said:
    I was curious why and how this other color card was used.  


    Summer
  • SummerSummer -
    edited December 2015
    This is all very helpful, Castillo--especially the video.  I'm hoping to post a painting before Christmas so I'd better get on with it and leave the the far out reaches of Photography alone for a while.  Trying AWB without the cards today since I always shoot in raw anyway.  Will adjust in Lr or Ps later if necessary.  Why make life more difficult?  Happy Holidays!  Summer
  • @Summer I think it is superfluous for your purposes. I don't even have one of the ones with all the color swatches. If I was a cinematographer and had a RED camera or something, I'd get their reference card, which is hundreds of dollars if I remember correctly, but that's some really advanced stuff. Here in the studio for our videos and photoshoots, I use the same grey card I recommend in the guide. Our cameras don't capture certain shades of green correctly, but when that's an issue I notice in a shot (of a painting or a palette of paint for example), I notice it and try to adjust for it.

    What I do as far as white balancing in camera versus adjusting afterwards… since I take a ton of photos in the studio and our studio has a consistent white balance, I do program the cameras with the grey card for the studio light. I still might adjust slightly in Photoshop afterwards since the actual light color can still vary slightly from shot to shot depending on what the light in the studio is bouncing off of, and sometime it just looks slightly off. But it's already really close, generally does not need to be adjusted, and having the correct white balance (or close enough to correct) makes it a little easier to judge exposure in-camera when choosing shutter speed / aperture / ISO. Also, when we shoot video it's not raw, so I have no choice but to white balance in camera for that.

    If I were to leave the studio to take photos elsewhere, I would generally just switch the camera to automatic white balance (AWB) and take a photo of the gray card which I keep in my pocket whenever I move to different lighting. I'm pretty sure I cover this in the guide so you probably already know how I recommend doing it. You can also just wing it if you forget your grey card or just don't want to bother with it.
    Ron
  • David,  All of your personal experiences with white balance really sticks in my brain so that I better know how to use the card in my own daily life now.  I'm finding that it isn't a matter of using only one system over the others, but instead, it's when to use the different options--which you've made very clear in this post.  I can't thank you enough for this information.  You explain things very clearly.  Summer
  • I dislike getting all hung up on lighting with cameras
     That's why I generally take the work outside in a neutrally lit area. I set the camera lens  to what ever is  recommended on the setting wheel.  The cameras are so good today you hardly ever get a really bad or unusable image.
  • Ron said:
    I dislike getting all hung up on lighting with cameras
     That's why I generally take the work outside in a neutrally lit area. I set the camera lens  to what ever is  recommended on the setting wheel.  The cameras are so good today you hardly ever get a really bad or unusable image.

    My husband agrees with you!  What you do is exactly what he does.  :)
  • Ron said:
    I dislike getting all hung up on lighting with cameras
     That's why I generally take the work outside in a neutrally lit area. I set the camera lens  to what ever is  recommended on the setting wheel.  The cameras are so good today you hardly ever get a really bad or unusable image.
    If by "settings" you mean stuff like "portrait mode" and "landscape mode" etc, that stuff is really arbitrary. "Landscape mode" usually (among other things) pumps the green and the blues, since the stereotypical landscape is of greenery on a sunny day, or blue sea at the beach. 

    And as far as white balance goes, it is literally impossible for current cameras to consistently get correct color temperature, and when taking a photo of a predominantly blue painting for example, it's likely to be very wrong. This is because the camera has absolutely no way of knowing if it's a blue painting, or a painting that is in blue light.

    It's fine to do whatever you're doing if it's producing images you're personally okay with, but if you want to take the craft to the highest level (when photographing/printing source material) or represent your paintings accurately (for photographing/processing your painting) some attention must be paid to various technicalities. It's just part of the modern craft of painting, even if painting from life, because 99.99% of people who see your work will only ever see it as a photograph unfortunately.
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