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tungsten softbox lighting and dslr camera

allison peck , Jun 09, 2007; 11:37 p.m.

I have a three light tungsten softbox system for portrait work. I use a canon xti rebel. My pics are very orange and yellow, and trying to use the white balance isn't correcting the color very well. What else can be done to change the tint? Is this using the camera settings or do i use filters?


Ellis Vener , Jun 10, 2007; 07:50 a.m.

Get an X-Rite color checker or a WhiBal card and shoot "raw".

Ronald Moravec , Jun 10, 2007; 08:29 a.m.

Make a custom white balance, by shooting a white card in the tungsten set up. Custom white balance instructions in you instruction book.

This defines white to the camera under the conditions it was made. All the other colors will fall in place.

allison peck , Jun 10, 2007; 06:25 p.m.

thank you for your suggestions. although i use tungsten lights, sometimes i use an external flash bounce flash off a white ceiling with a filter as well, perhaps that is causing the orange/yellow cast? should i not be using a flash with the lights?

Nino T. , Jun 10, 2007; 09:15 p.m.

1: put the camera into "incandescent" white balance mode (3200k) 2: if you wish to use a flash you need to put a #85 orange gel on the flash, as the flashes colour temp is 56000k (daylight/blue) This will then match the tungsten studio lights. I would say that the fact you have a flash on will automatically put the camera into 'daylight' WB mode. You need to override this setting. If you do all these things, it should solve your colour cast problem. Unless your lights are unusually warm colour temp, your pics should look pretty white (colour correct). The uncorrectable sin of artificial lighting is not to mix Colour temps, as you have done using un-corrected flash and tungsten.

Ellis Vener , Jun 12, 2007; 12:48 p.m.

the orange /yellow cast is basically from the camera setting for white balance (what do you use here?) and the actual color balance of the lights.

Ellis Vener , Jun 12, 2007; 01:01 p.m.

The solution is a custom white balance based on something that is spectrally neutral (i.e. reflects all colors of light with equal intensity) There are few few products that actually do this for example the famous Kodak gray card with regard to color is not neutral and certainly isn't spectrally neutral. Which is why I recommended specifically the X-Rite and WhiBal products, which are spectrally neutral.

Custom White balancing is actually much better handled when you shoot raw and use a decent "raw" processor. Examples of that are many: Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Lightroom; Bibble; Raw Developer; Capture One Pro; Canon DPP; Nikon Capture; etc.

It also really helps to have an accurately calibrated and profiled monitor. this is very important as your display or monitor is the primary tool you use to judge image quality with these days. For this the best moderately priced tool is the X-Rite Eye One Display 2 with i1 Color Match software.

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