Why do certain colors change under speedlights?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
pixhead Forum Member • Posts: 77
Why do certain colors change under speedlights?

I had been shooting Fashion a while now, I observed that there are a few colors come out correct I shoot on AWB and I have used Gray cards, but they are not corrected in any under circumstances. Now I am thinking to buy Color checker keeping in mind the value of shooting color in Fashion. But before that I wanted to why does it happen for some colors only, I am listing samples change in photos.

-- hide signature --
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 14,163
Spot color adjustment
1

pixhead wrote:

I had been shooting Fashion a while now, I observed that there are a few colors come out correct I shoot on AWB and I have used Gray cards, but they are not corrected in any under circumstances. Now I am thinking to buy Color checker keeping in mind the value of shooting color in Fashion. But before that I wanted to why does it happen for some colors only, I am listing samples change in photos.

White balance only fully corrects neutral colors: white, gray, and black.

It does act as a “pivot” for all of the other colors, adjusting them systematically with respect to gray, but it does not adjust the colors relative to each other. Basically it’s impossible to use white balance to correct all colors if they aren’t accurate to begin with.

Color calibration is how you get the colors more accurate, but it isn’t perfect, as the common ColorChecker target only has 18 colors. Typically, after you do white balance and color calibration, you then do spot color adjustment, where you force some inaccurate colors to what they should be.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +2 more
OP pixhead Forum Member • Posts: 77
Re: Spot color adjustment

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

pixhead wrote:

I had been shooting Fashion a while now, I observed that there are a few colors come out correct I shoot on AWB and I have used Gray cards, but they are not corrected in any under circumstances. Now I am thinking to buy Color checker keeping in mind the value of shooting color in Fashion. But before that I wanted to why does it happen for some colors only, I am listing samples change in photos.

White balance only fully corrects neutral colors: white, gray, and black.

It does act as a “pivot” for all of the other colors, adjusting them systematically with respect to gray, but it does not adjust the colors relative to each other. Basically it’s impossible to use white balance to correct all colors if they aren’t accurate to begin with.

Color calibration is how you get the colors more accurate, but it isn’t perfect, as the common ColorChecker target only has 18 colors. Typically, after you do white balance and color calibration, you then do spot color adjustment, where you force some inaccurate colors to what they should be.

Thanks for replying, another thing is I also get these colors inaccurate when I shoot outside in open daylight with my speedlights, so I guess my Yongnuo speedlights are also responsible for modification of certain colors.

-- hide signature --
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 14,163
Re: Spot color adjustment

pixhead wrote:

Thanks for replying, another thing is I also get these colors inaccurate when I shoot outside in open daylight with my speedlights, so I guess my Yongnuo speedlights are also responsible for modification of certain colors.

Most likely your strobes’ white balance doesn’t match the daylight: are you shooting in open shade? If so, then maybe you can gel the speedlight to match the ambient lighting.

I would expect the color temperature of the speedlight to shift slightly depending on its power setting, so some experimentation is called for.

Unfortunately, I think the ultimate answer is spot color correction in Photoshop.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +2 more
A Marcus Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: Why do certain colors change under speedlights?

When you take a picture using flash, the exposing light is a product of the flash; its color differs from the ambient light that illumines the scene. You see the subject via the ambient light; the camera sees the subject via the light from the flash. They differ; hence the color balance of the resulting picture is not the colors you observe.

We see using a combination of eye and brain. Our vision system is remarkable; it involuntarily white-balances. If you don’t believe, cover one eye with a strong red filter (cellphone candy wrapper etc.). Now look about for a minute or so. Remove the filter and look about as you uncover first the right eye, then the left. Repeat with different color filters. This experiment is dramatic, because only one eye white-balanced out the effect of the filter. In everyday life, both your eyes white-balance, self-adjusting to minute differences in color output of the ambient light.

flyinglentris
flyinglentris Contributing Member • Posts: 735
Color Management

Your post touches upon a topic which has many many facets, from mixed color temperature lighting to color management and the ICC rendering intents which are used to correct for out of gamut colors when going from one source device to another output device.

For most neophyte photographers, the camera's white balance and color temperature automatic settings are primary in their mindset. But there's a lot more to it than what is built into your camera and the dichroic color correction filters and gels you might employ on lenses and on lighting fixtures.

You have likely read threads on Capture One, X-Rite and other Color Checkers and calibration software and devices. That takes you into another area that you should be knowledgeable of, especially in Fashion Photography where what your client thinks is of special import is of special import to you. That area is Color Management and it is one heck of an iceberg of which color checkers are just the tip above the water. And have no doubt, you already have access to Color Management Modules (CMMs) and profiling w/o specifically purchasing some software app. They are built in to operating systems and image editing software that you use every day.

I have been boning up on the whole topic with "Real World Color Management" by Fraser, Murphy and Bunting.

http://www.peachpit.com/store/real-world-color-management-9780321267221

NOTE: You don't have to go to PeachPit, it's just one of the links I found on the web for this book. There are others. PeachPit appears to be the publisher. Surprisingly, B&H does not have this book available as it does a related book, "Real World Camera Raw."

It's a hefty detailed (industrial strength) look at color management written in a language that is easy to absorb for everybody from graphic artists to us, photographers. And yet, it does not claim to go to levels of detail that the engineers and color scientists would. It's meant for us photography knuckleheads and others involved with color devices and software. There are some surprising revelations in this tome. Those off-color problems you are running into will be explained and you might find ways of resolving them that are not at present obvious or what you may have considered.

-- hide signature --

"If you are among those who believe that it has all been done already and nothing new can be achieved, you've murdered your own artistry before ever letting it live. You abort it in its fetal state. There is much that has yet to be spoken in art and composition and it grows with the passage of time. Evolving technologies, world environments and ideologies all drive change in thoughts, passion and expression. There is no way that it can all ever be done already. And therein lies the venue for the creative artist, a venue that is as diverse as the universe is unmapped and unexplored." - Quote from FlyingLentris
~
flyinglentris in LLOMA

TheGrammarFairy Regular Member • Posts: 181
Much Easier To Start With Known Values
1

I feel your pain. I used to shoot a lot for an organization whose members wore a very specific color of t-shirt, it was tough at first getting the color exactly right at first. But thanks to the use of custom white balance and a ColorChecker I was able to do pretty well.

And that's even though using a Color Checker profile would render the color of the shirts wrong, but it shifted them the exact same way every time so it was easy to correct.

Luckily the color industry (from paint manufacturers to fabric makers to camera makers to paper and ink suppliers) have been working for decades to solve this problem so you have some resources. Is everything perfectly integrated? Not at all. But everyone in the various industries understands the problems.

Setting a custom white balance with a gray card will almost always get you much closer to the real colors than using automatic white balance. Is it perfect? No. But it makes your life easier later.

In my experience in commercial photography, the photographers almost always submit an image of a ColorChecker shot under the light in which the clothes were shot or processes photos using a custom profile generated by either Adobe or X-rite software.

When you have to hit a specific color like Coca Cola red or Porsche Mexico Blue, the companies supply you with the RGB numbers.

Just my experiences. Take them for what they're worth.

pixhead wrote:

I had been shooting Fashion a while now, I observed that there are a few colors come out correct I shoot on AWB and I have used Gray cards, but they are not corrected in any under circumstances. Now I am thinking to buy Color checker keeping in mind the value of shooting color in Fashion. But before that I wanted to why does it happen for some colors only, I am listing samples change in photos.

(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: Why do certain colors change under speedlights?

A Marcus wrote:

In everyday life, both your eyes white-balance, self-adjusting to minute differences in color output of the ambient light.

In certain daylight light conditions my eyes have a completely different white balance (I would say a difference of several 1000 K). But this happens rarely.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads