PDA

View Full Version : How do I find the right color if I didn't get Grey Card shots



eastbluffs
09-26-2005, 10:38 AM
I took a bunch of shots at my nephew's wedding this weekend.

Many were good save the color. However; I didn't bring a grey card and with all the satin white clothing, I can't really tell who's wearing real white. Even then, do I try finding something that's probably 18% grey, or bright white?

I did take one "Expodisc" shot pointing towards the sun, but my lense was too big (78mm) for my 72mm expodisc. Its readings vary from 6700 kelvin on the outer rims to 8700 in the center.

I try using RSE's color balance tools but depending on where I click, the variation is very wide.

The RSE tools also change the tint (along with the color temp) and I don't understand why.

They look acceptable on the screen, then I print and the lawn has an odd green tint. Some indoor shots, the women have yellow tints in their blond hair.

I can't afford the $2000 for an LCD screen color balancing tool although I read that its essential to calibrate it regularly. I just can't believe that all the poor wedding photographers out there either go through that, nor have this issue.

All the shots here were done in RAW.
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kcandmeganburkephotos/album?.dir=d4f3&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kcandmeganburkephotos/my_photos


I could use some advice on how to use a simple $2 grey card, and advice on how I might get the correct color balancing for the shots already done.

Thanks

TheObiJuan
09-26-2005, 10:54 AM
My laptop is color calibrated by adobe photoshop and some software that came with my laptop. I just adjust the pictures using the levels, RGB sliders until I get an image that looks right. I further fine tune them with the channel mixer, then spice up the image with selective coloring.

If you'd like I could try to adjust the images to the best of my ability, if you post 'em. The thing is that I may not get the same results as you, since you were actually there to see the colors as they actually appeared. Often times I don't adjust the color beyond the K adjustment or WB icon that I choose.

eastbluffs
09-26-2005, 11:47 AM
My laptop is color calibrated by adobe photoshop and some software that came with my laptop. I just adjust the pictures using the levels, RGB sliders until I get an image that looks right. I further fine tune them with the channel mixer, then spice up the image with selective coloring.

If you'd like I could try to adjust the images to the best of my ability, if you post 'em. The thing is that I may not get the same results as you, since you were actually there to see the colors as they actually appeared. Often times I don't adjust the color beyond the K adjustment or WB icon that I choose.
Juan, The link shows just how many. Your jesture is very generous. You sure :D ? Even a couple of useful hints would be wonderful.

I took 4 events (rehearsal (250 shots all RAW), rehearsal dinner (180 shots all RAW 580EX flash with settings being guessed - opened the 580 box in parking lot), wedding (200 shots all RAW), reception (60 RAW, 300 med. JPEG, all flash). I mostly used the 580EX flash for indoor shots, and many of the outdoor (not during wedding).

Of these, about 80% are in focus, except the night shooting where only about 40% are salvagable due to flash ignorance (I didn't know about the little flash-sync button until the videographer showed me)

Of the 80% usable, probably half are good shots. I've posted about 300 from the wedding day on Yahoo Photos, but the color is all messed up. However, I printed the 150 best from the wedding shots in the 1 hour I had the next morning and brought them to a 50 person brunch. Printed 4-up in 3 ring binder with clear acid-free sheet holders. They were the ooooh and aaaaah of the party even though I found them embarrasing. So, I figured they wouldn't really mind a little off tinting.

The Yahoo link is here if you want to take a gander. Note: Due to time crunch, I didn't crop any - but some need it badly.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kcandmeganburkephotos/album?.dir=d4f3&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kcandmeganburkephotos/my_photos

Your greatest help could probably be a few sample photos, if I could retrace your steps. So, if I took 30 shots in the bridal suite, the light should mostly be the same in the corner, and the ones with window backlighting should be the same. They were all with flash (not synced properly though).

You could just pick which ones and I can post them to my smugmug site. I don't know how to post a RAW photos.

Regarding me seeing the colors, I honestly don't remember if someone's pants were brown or blue (at the rehearsal, the bride's dad's pants turned out both ways depending on the balancing).

Obi: Your assistance would be fantastic. Mainly, I'm concerned about learning from my mistakes. I've offered to the other guests all photos posted where they can order prints to their heart's content (like Yahoo).

Hmmm, I wonder if the dad, having already shelled out probably $12K for his own photos, on top of probably $100K for the wedding et. all, would want to pay a professional to doctor up and make presentable all my photos so the guests could all get copies. Be a touchy question to ask. It won't compete with the pro on the job since she probably took 3,000 shots (her and 2 assistants), and they banned me from the set-up shots, but would be a very nice jesture for the poor folks in the wedding party :o .

(sorry for the long post)

All help, advice, and critiques are welcomed!

cwphoto
09-26-2005, 09:07 PM
3,000 shots!!! That's massive for a wedding, what an editing nightmare!!!

East,

I'll chip in here if that's OK.

Have you tried Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) for conversion? I'm a little ignorant of all the other RAW converters around, but I find DPP to be nicely integrated with the Camera and renders images the best IMO.

My workflow is thus (I use EOS-1D Mark II/EOS-1Ds Mark II):
1) Capture images in RAW. WB set to AWB, Colour Space set to Adobe RGB (not that this matters), zero sharpening (again, doesn't matter in RAW). In lighting that I know is challenging I will try and usually take a photo of a clean white piece of paper I carry with me all the time in my camera bag - this is used for easy WB correction later.
2) Download all images to laptop and delete obvious duds in Windows RAW Image Viewer.
3) Open DPP and rename all images to my standard naming convention using rename tool.
4) I do a first run through the images correcting for WB only. Most images will appear fair with regard to WB anyway because I've shot in AWB and DPP interprets this straight off the bat. If I have taken a shot of my white paper (say at the Bride's home in the loungeroom) then I simply sample the paper for WB and apply said adjustment to all images that were shot under this scenario. DPP allows you to apply this adjustment in bulk making WB correction relatively painless. I will do this also in the reception (where I shoot a lot of available light) as well. For the times when I haven't taken an image of my paper, I find the default settings in DPP (such as Sunny, Cloudy, Shade, etc) to be fairly reliable under most situations.
5) Once I have done my WB corrections I will then go through the images again for density, using the exposure compensation slider in DPP to get this correct.
6) Finally I convert all in bulk to my chosen format (usually JPEG but some clients request TIFF (ever given a client 20GB worth of wedding images?!) and apply sharpening (normally mild sharpening for wedding work). I use Adobe1998 colour space.

Now I'm not sure how much of this is available in RSE and Capture One etc, but I prefer the render of DPP (personal taste thing). What makes my job a lot easier is if I have taken an image of my white card under all the lighting situations in which I expose - this makes my post work very easy with regard to WB correction, simply click and apply. Importantly, this also takes away the monitor calibration factor - as your not actually choosing to visually correct for WB on a (potentially) poorly calibrated viewing source

Only what works for me, I'm sure others will have a better example using your choice of RAW converter. ;)

eastbluffs
09-26-2005, 11:38 PM
3,000 shots!!! That's massive for a wedding, what an editing nightmare!!!
Just a guess, but 3 photographers were sounding like the president walked in or something. I saw at least 10 shots of each pose, and they had the girls for 45 minutes, then the boys for 30 minutes longer, then all together with family, then they went off to other parts of the hotel (the Laguna Ritz is very photogenic) then the wedding itself, then an hour of poses with all afterwards, then I saw at least 200 shots taken indoors. Sure looked like about 2 or 3,000 to me! But that's a guess. That's why they're getting 12K (I'm guessing at the pay too, but its an educated guess).



East,

I'll chip in here if that's OK.

Have you tried Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) for conversion? I'm a little ignorant of all the other RAW converters around, but I find DPP to be nicely integrated with the Camera and renders images the best IMO.

No, I will load and try it. I think it came with the camera.




My workflow is thus (I use EOS-1D Mark II/EOS-1Ds Mark II):
Very nice!


1) Capture images in RAW. WB set to AWB, Colour Space set to Adobe RGB (not that this matters), zero sharpening (again, doesn't matter in RAW). In lighting that I know is challenging I will try and usually take a photo of a clean white piece of paper I carry with me all the time in my camera bag - this is used for easy WB correction later.

Big confusion for me! I've heard about these 18% grey cards, that cameras try to balance everything to 18% grey. Yet you've used something different for hundreds of weddings. Also; what shade of white paper, does it matter? I have normal cheap copier paper white, bright color laser white, inkjet glossy, etc. And, do I hold it in the light, backlit, so no direct reflection catches it? I could experiment I suppose.

I keep looking for things in the shot that look a bit grey. RSE has a pen-tip that lets me white balance to a spot, but clicking on a well lit, reflective lit, slightly shaded, and back side of light source (like the priest's white collar with sun behind) vary quite a bit, like 5800K to 9000Kelvin.
Then I try balancing similarly for when the sun was behind me and get more like 3800K.

Also, I've noticed a wide variance between the courtyard shaded area, courtyard sunny area, 2 hours before sundown, and 1/2 hour before sundown, then just after sundown. Also; this was a partially clouded day so that kept shifting.


2) Download all images to laptop and delete obvious duds in Windows RAW Image Viewer.
3) Open DPP and rename all images to my standard naming convention using rename tool.
4) I do a first run through the images correcting for WB only. Most images will appear fair with regard to WB anyway because I've shot in AWB and DPP interprets this straight off the bat. If I have taken a shot of my white paper (say at the Bride's home in the loungeroom) then I simply sample the paper for WB and apply said adjustment to all images that were shot under this scenario. DPP allows you to apply this adjustment in bulk making WB correction relatively painless. I will do this also in the reception (where I shoot a lot of available light) as well. For the times when I haven't taken an image of my paper, I find the default settings in DPP (such as Sunny, Cloudy, Shade, etc) to be fairly reliable under most situations.
RSE also changes tint. That seems to be an even larger problem. When I get it wrong (most of the time when guessing), the blond hair comes out yellow, skin becomes red, etc. etc.) Will the tint change for the white paper?


5) Once I have done my WB corrections I will then go through the images again for density, using the exposure compensation slider in DPP to get this correct.never heard this called density.
Also; monitor vs. print seems to vary widely on exposure. Printouts seem to be darker so I try overeposing everything slightly to compensate. Can you relate? I rarely have them professionally printed, is that the same?


6) Finally I convert all in bulk to my chosen format (usually JPEG but some clients request TIFF (ever given a client 20GB worth of wedding images?!) and apply sharpening (normally mild sharpening for wedding work). I use Adobe1998 colour space.
You give away your negatives? Is that normal? I've heard of it, but most wedding photogs I've heard of charge big bucks if you want a second book or replacements down the line.

Even at work when we buy photos for a brochure or something, we commonly license a single photo for $300 to $900 for just 1 year's license. We have to pay for an extension if we don't want to make new brochures next year.



Now I'm not sure how much of this is available in RSE and Capture One etc, but I prefer the render of DPP (personal taste thing). What makes my job a lot easier is if I have taken an image of my white card under all the lighting situations in which I expose - this makes my post work very easy with regard to WB correction, simply click and apply. Importantly, this also takes away the monitor calibration factor - as your not actually choosing to visually correct for WB on a (potentially) poorly calibrated viewing source

Only what works for me, I'm sure others will have a better example using your choice of RAW converter. ;)
RSE is nice for workflow, but the skin tones seem a little off sometimes. I always shoot in RAW + small JPEG. Sometimes when I do a straight unedited conversion using RSE, the small JPEG looks better. I like the organization and bulk features, but I can see that for serious (and professional) people shots maybe RSE isn't the best bet.

CW - thanks for your time. I'll make it some day.

One last bit of advice if I may:

My instinct tells me to never ever show a sub-standard shot. Friends can become clients, etc. No matter how important the subject.

In my profession; I have friends I would never in recommend. Would you concur? Of course; I have to let my guard down on these forums to get advice.

I have a few (unfixable) technically bad shots that I just can't bare to let go because of the subject. For example; I forgot I had my 135L in manual focus when my nephew and bride came down the isle together, both so proud, intensly happy, a moment never to be repeated. Very blury. I posted it. Would you do such a thing as a pro? Obviously; I posted many shots that should be cropped and color balanced which you wouldn't do either, but those are correctable. I'm looking down the road, whatdoyado wit dem bad'uns dat jus caint be thrown out. Make a stencil?

cwphoto
09-27-2005, 12:32 AM
I'll address your last question first: I never show the duds, no matter how important the shot was (such as walking down the aisle etc), my threshold is slight mis-focus, slight exposure error, or slight movement. Anything else (such as obvious mis-focus etc) is out - no exceptions.

I reckon it's easier to explain that you missed the shot for whatever reason (changing cards/lenses/miscommunication with MC etc) rather than say: "yeah I was there but couldn't focus the lens, oops - sorry".

Grey card is used for exposure, white card is used for WB. A grey card often makes a good substitute for an incident light meter - particularly for weddings as your subject is often high or low key. I agree that there are copious shades of white, so pick one that you are happy with - I prefer a slight warm white and I found different tones at a craft shop so you can take your pick.

In terms of placement, just like your grey card the white card should be pointed toward the camera position (ie; you are measuring light that will be reflected the same as to the camera) in the same light as your subject.

Your comments on changing lighting are not unfounded. The wedding on last week was outside in late afternoon. Within that hour I reckon the lighting must have changed around 1,000K or more - and I didn't get to white card all of it so that's where the work starts!

With regards to exposure, I just went with a trial and error to "educate" me. Now I can usually judge what's OK on my monitor.

PS. Density is an old "film" term :)

eastbluffs
09-27-2005, 08:08 AM
I'll address your last question first: I never show the duds, no matter how important the shot was (such as walking down the aisle etc), my threshold is slight mis-focus, slight exposure error, or slight movement. Anything else (such as obvious mis-focus etc) is out - no exceptions.Thanks. Maybe I'll start now, after all, who the heck will ever frame it anyway.


Grey card is used for exposure, white card is used for WB.
Hmmm, I heard different. Musta heard wrong.

A grey card often makes a good substitute for an incident light meter - particularly for weddings as your subject is often high or low key. I agree that there are copious shades of white, so pick one that you are happy with - I prefer a slight warm white and I found different tones at a craft shop so you can take your pick.
Will that affect tint? I know using something with obvious blue or yellow in the white-mix make it go off.



In terms of placement, just like your grey card the white card should be pointed toward the camera position (ie; you are measuring light that will be reflected the same as to the camera) in the same light as your subject.
Another point of great confusion. Only remaining question, should the paper be luminus? IE: thin enough to let light through?



Your comments on changing lighting are not unfounded. The wedding on last week was outside in late afternoon. Within that hour I reckon the lighting must have changed around 1,000K or more - and I didn't get to white card all of it so that's where the work starts!
I suppose that's testimony of how I've been measuring it - rather not measuring it. Glad to be wrong here, what a nightmare that would be.



With regards to exposure, I just went with a trial and error to "educate" me. Now I can usually judge what's OK on my monitor.

PS. Density is an old "film" term :)Oh, that makes sense.


I think I'll drive back there and take white balance shots with a white paper and grey card around the same time of evening.


Thanks again. I can see how enough perseverence and the right tips and habits can make good results pretty second nature, and therefore opening the door to "get creative" and really do new things within the boundries of good results, sort of like a musician sticking with tone scales and rythm.

Cheers

eastbluffs
09-27-2005, 11:50 AM
Does someone have a link that explains the best white balance technique in depth?

cwphoto
09-27-2005, 06:03 PM
Tint is only affected to the degree of warmth/coolness of your card. My card for WB is pure warm white (ie; it looks white - but next to a pure "cool" white it's, well, warm).

White card should be opaque - remember, you're normally only interested in light reflecting from your subject (in terms of measurement). Even if the dominant light source is behind your subject (such as the sun), it's the reflected light from the subject that your interested in (both for WB and exposure).

eastbluffs
09-28-2005, 09:52 AM
Tint is only affected to the degree of warmth/coolness of your card. My card for WB is pure warm white (ie; it looks white - but next to a pure "cool" white it's, well, warm).

White card should be opaque - remember, you're normally only interested in light reflecting from your subject (in terms of measurement). Even if the dominant light source is behind your subject (such as the sun), it's the reflected light from the subject that your interested in (both for WB and exposure).A friend walked me through what 18% grey is to RBG color balancing. I can see that the software WB tool could be geared to adjust to pure white (255, 255,255) or 18% grey (128, 128, 128).

Still don't know much about tint, hue, or shadow/midtone/highlight distinction, but it appears that most SW tools would be geared to clicking on a white to achieve overall WB.

On the 20D, if I set the in-camera white balance I'm not sure if it says to take a white or grey shot, but I'm not sure how much those impact RAW shots anyway. Hmmm, they must start out balanced to that.

Question: can I lock the AB setting? I keep setting it to other things when I fumble over the buttons in the dark.

Again, I need to find some resources to study. Learning all about this is beyond the scope of this forum, but a few links would be a help.


Thanks!

cwphoto
09-28-2005, 05:09 PM
I'm not sure how it relates to your example of 128, 128, 128, but 18% grey (or middle grey) is supossed to be around 5x less reflectance than pure white (ie; 90% reflectance for a pure white surface). This equates to around 2.25 stops of light.

In your example I would have thought 18% grey would represent around 55 (being 2.25 stops less dense than 255) but I might be missing something.

RAW files are only tagged with such information so that DPP can get a head-start on processing. WB settings have no effect on core RAW data.

In theory, I would guess that a pure grey card could give you correct WB as well (as long as it is not tinted).