WHITE BALANCE, there I said it. We can try and ignore it all however, it's really something we should all take the time and get to know, just like your rich second cousin. Obviously you should get it right in-camera when shooting, although this is far from the norm and even though most modern cameras do a fine job ..... there is always the exception.
I have decided to break this particular 'QUICK TIP' into Two parts. First- how to get it right to begin with by setting your white balance 'IN CAMERA' and 'Part Two' how to correct in post after you where a lazy f@$*ker when shooting. Before we run we must walk, so let the stumbling begin.
IN CAMERA WHITE BALANCE
White balance is a BITCH, it is one of those things I ignore and just say it's the style I was looking for ...whatever. Truth be told I just have never bothered to use a grey card when shooting. So what I suggest you do is the following....
- Purchase a grey card (example below)
- Set your white balance in camera using the grey card.
- Get it right from the beginning.
Above is a grey Card I grabbed from some bargain bin years ago. It actually came with 3 cards. White, black and grey. It would be a safe bet to use all three fanned out just for good measure.
Once you have purchased your grey card and chosen your location, get your subject to hold the grey card up in front of their face (best for skin tone) . Most digital cameras (including my Leica Q) have a white balance setting in the menu, you just select the white balance option then scroll to the bottom and chose one of the two Grey Card options. Next point your camera at your subject holding the grey card filling the frame with the card to be safe. The Q actually highlights a smaller rectangle area for you to fill in camera frame center. All cameras should have some similar method, google it or read your manual to find out.
Once you have set up the camera's white balance in-camera, shoot away as the camera and the light meter should have the correct white balance for the current scene your shooting. Remember if you move locations or are finished shooting, go back into your menu and un-select the custom preset or ....you get the idea. Hopefully now we have a great starting point for editing the images.
I had no issue once in 'Adobe Lightroom CC', I found the files out of the camera great to work with, no adjustments to be made other than my own personal choices. As you can see from above the room was mainly lit from the sun coming in from the french doors behind me and some overhead lights which I switched off. The light yellow walls bounced the light around nicely although it did cast a warmish tone to the scene which the grey card was able to fix up. Grey cards are not always fool-proof and you may still have to tweak a few things in your software of choice but your starting point will basically be there. After some tweaking in Lightroom and a trip to Photoshop and Exposure 7 I have the final images below to share.
I know B&W does not have much to do with white balance, I just liked the image and it's my post so why not. Now if the grey card is a problem and the white balance is still off because you are of less than average intelligence, stick with auto in your camera and change every image to monochrome. If you just had a tricky situation and are a cheap-ass and have no grey card you have my permission to proceed to PART TWO