Strobists, a question...

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
TangoMan Senior Member • Posts: 1,379
Re: Strobists, a question...

PhotoKhan wrote:

Ok..but how do I go about it on location?

My camera allows for custom WB but it does not display the actual color temperature for the customized setting.

Generally, under incasecent light, a 3/4 to a full CTO would match fairly well.

Generally, yes, but I was looking for some "trick" to expeditiously know exactly which CTO to use. On location it is simply not practical to test them one by one.

Yesterday, I took this photo and elected to use the 3/4 CTO. I put a couple of flashes out of view inside the merry-go-round. It wasn't quite successful. Can you see how the white horse on the left has a "pinkish" hue to it?

Clearly, that was not the appropriate gel and I would love to have a quick reference to figure out exactly what is needed.

Thank you for your input. It is much appreciated.


If I may offer this suggestion : as a starting point, set your white balance to Tungsten and use a full CTO. Custom balance would be a nightmare to use, as you can't know precisely what the camera is doing.

If the available light is from halogen bulbs, use 3/4 CTO. In the above picture, the sodium (?) street light makes things more tricky, and you may have needed a yellow filter on your flash to perfectly balance it. However, balancing your flash to your WB setting will give you neutral light, and if it's close enough to the ambient light, the result should be pleasing. The rest of the lights can't always be perfectly balanced because there are often more than one type in the pic, but tungsten is often the best setting. Once the colors are all pretty close one to another, use photoshop to tweak the resulting overall color balance to your taste.

The pinkish hue on the horse (the only white object in the shot) probably comes from a fluorescent light that affected your custom white balance shot when you took it. The diversity of light sources on this scene makes it almost impossible to get a good custom white balance.

Night photography is all about unusual colors anyway, no?

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