Day 244/365: White Balance Comparisons

I printed off some of my recent photos today. I was very interested to see what difference switching from the portrait to standard setting would have as I found that the former made the colours rather garish. Overall I feel that I can see some improvements in exposure, focus and colour but that darned white balance continues to trip me up. Many of the pictures leaned towards the cooler side of acceptable. It is so frustrating! I don't think that I have a good eye for white balance and this has to be one of my goals from now on. 

I read this morning that if you include a white balance card in the shot then you can simply click on it with the eyedropper in Lightroom to achieve perfect white balance. That sounded easy, so I thought that it would be a fantastic basis for one of my photography experiments. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to use the white card or the grey card and therefore I used both. 

You might notice a lack of enthusiasm from my subjects this evening. Don't worry I only took up a minute of their time. All pictures were shot using AWB. I used the grey card and spot metering to set the exposure on all photos and I haven't touched that in editing. The only editing that has been used in these photos is white balance using the eyedropper with white or grey cards or just my normal method of adjusting white balance. 

SOOC
Grey Card

SOOC

White Card: 

Manual:
Let's just take a closer look at the difference... (oh the misery on that child's face!)


Grey

White

Manual

In Rexy's pictures the AWB did a pretty good job of getting close to the "correct" white balance. There is not a huge amount of difference between the pictures. Overall the white card gave the warmest image; I would have thought it was too warm before today. I am usually pretty happy with the colourings that the manual adjustment give when on screen but in print it is definitely too cool. I am starting to think that I need to aim for more warmth in my pictures. 

Let's try with Bear in a different location. 

SOOC

Grey Card

Manual
Overall, I prefer the look from the warmer grey card. Let's look at white... 

SOOC

White Card
The white card is much warmer, and again to my eye it looks too warm. Let's compare the three methods again. 

Grey

White

Manual
The white is certainly the warmest, the grey is more magenta and the manual more green. I think that I would vote for white again. I think that I might be learning something here. 

Next up, we have a very tired and reluctant Roo. Excuse his lips. He is trying to remember to coat himself in Vaseline and not lick them when out in the cold. This was in bad lighting so it posed a huge white balance challenge. It looks so underexposed to me, but I used the grey card for exposure. The white balance adjustment does brighten in up a bit through. 

SOOC

Grey Card

Ok, lets look at the white card now. 

SOOC

White card

Manual
The manual was so hard to achieve by my normal methods. I usually find a neutral area in the eye to click on but they were very red this evening and the colour in the SOOC was way off. I could have used the door perhaps but I wanted to achieve it without something so similar to the white card. My newest method is to place the dropper on the skin and adjust the settings so that there are ten points between the red and blue and the green is the average of the two. I fiddled and fiddled but couldn't get the colours to fall into the right alignment. In the end I went with my eye, which is interesting when I see how different it is to the white card result. Let's look at all three again. 

Grey

White

Manual

There is not so much between the grey and white this time, but my manual was way off. So green! Overall I would lean slightly towards the grey here, but the white does a decent job too. They still look a  little dark to me though. 

The main message from today is that I need to warm up my photos. In the absence of my Expodisc, and maybe even with it, I need to find a neutral white area to click on with the dropper. Failing that I need to develop my eye for good skin tones. I plan to get these photos printed up to see how they look on paper. That will be very interesting. 

Finally, we had a lovely sunset tonight and it was a joy to play around in editing without having to worry about skin tones. 


Oh and really truly finally, I stopped off at a camera shop today and played around with the Canon 6D with the Canon 100mm lens. Oh wow! All I can say is that it was amazing. I am going to have to start saving because that sort of kit is such a joy to use. I would photograph every single day of forever without any desire for a break. 



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