True white balance in photography

Started Sep 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
RMC74
Junior MemberPosts: 32
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Re: True white balance in photography
In reply to zackiedawg, Dec 1, 2012

I have been playing with (struggling with) white balance for the past few months.  I have read numerous articles in an attempt to gain as much knowledge as I can to make my photo's better.  I started with ACR in Photoshop Elements and then moved on to Lightroom 4.  I have come to the conclusion that getting the white balance right is a combination of technical knowledge and more importantly practice, experience, and artistic vision.  I have noticed that my pictures are slowly but surely getting more pleasing to me, the more I practice at not only choosing a WB setting when taking the photo, but also getting the WB correct in PP and then adjusting to taste.

For a while I have been considering getting a WhiBal card and dropping it into a picture during every shoot to get a base WB to work off.  What made me finally decide to order a WhiBal card was a recent photo shoot and PP session.  I was trying to get good WB on a sunrise/fog scene in Lightroom and couldn't get the look that I remembered from the photo shoot.  I played with the WB slider for quite some time but it still didn't look quite "right."  I then tried to use the WB eyedropper and clicked on various parts of the cloud area to find a neutral gray area.  finally I clicked on an area of the clouds that changed my pictures so dramatically, I was surprised.  Before using the eyedropper I had probably moved the slider back and forth over the same WB setting but never saw the same results.  Probably just lack of experience on my part.

Everyone has a different process for getting their pictures to reflect their vision.  For me, I will try the Whibal card in that process to give me the confidence I have a reasonably close starting point.  I can then go to town with Lightroom to obtain my individual artistic vision.  I never realized how important WB was until I really started focusing on getting my pictures to represent how I wanted them to look and not how the camera's computer decided they should look.

I am at the very beginning of an enjoyable and eye opening learning (and sometimes frustrating) process of how to make my pictures better using my artistic vision and the right tools.  I have found that earning how to adjust WB is an important starting point.  Hopefully a Whibal card will make the whole process a little easier for me.

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