Correcting White Balance for Night Portraits


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btym3011

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Sep 15, 2008
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#1
i'm having some problems balancing the white balance of my flash and the ambient light when shooting night portaits, outdoors in singapore.

when i use flash white balance, the sky turns a red colour. when i correct wb for ambient using a grey card, my subjects (who are lit by flash) has a very cool skin tone.

does anyone face the same problems? and how do i get around this issue. will warming up the flash using CTO gel help?
 

Snoweagle

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Jan 26, 2005
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#2
i'm having some problems balancing the white balance of my flash and the ambient light when shooting night portaits, outdoors in singapore.

when i use flash white balance, the sky turns a red colour. when i correct wb for ambient using a grey card, my subjects (who are lit by flash) has a very cool skin tone.

does anyone face the same problems? and how do i get around this issue. will warming up the flash using CTO gel help?
Usually i just use AWB, works all the time.
 

Richter

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Sep 11, 2005
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#4
btym3011, try shooting with a CTO gel attached to your flash and shoot with the WB correct again.
 

phazed1

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Jan 19, 2009
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#5
- when i correct wb for ambient using a grey card, my subjects (who are lit by flash) has a very cool skin tone.
how did you light up the grey card
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#6
i'm having some problems balancing the white balance of my flash and the ambient light when shooting night portaits, outdoors in singapore.

when i use flash white balance, the sky turns a red colour. when i correct wb for ambient using a grey card, my subjects (who are lit by flash) has a very cool skin tone.

does anyone face the same problems? and how do i get around this issue. will warming up the flash using CTO gel help?
This is rather difficult due to the multitude of artificial lights in the background. Using of CTO gels may alleviate the issue slightly but it may be almost impossible to correct the WB to the same degree.
 

btym3011

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Sep 15, 2008
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#7
consider shootin in RAW format
i was already shooting in RAW and it didnt help. shifting the colour temperature slider to remove the red tinge from the sky made my subjects go cool and correcting the colour temperature for proper skin tone made my sky go red. the only way i could think of was to cut my subjects out and correct the wb seperately from the rest of the picture but that would simply take too much time for all the pictures i want to keep.

how did you light up the grey card
grey card was lighted using ambient light, ie just light from the night sky. there was some spill light from the nearby lamps falling on the grey card as well but i was not that particular. the custom wb from the grey card gave a sky which was of a colour i was satisfied with.

This is rather difficult due to the multitude of artificial lights in the background. Using of CTO gels may alleviate the issue slightly but it may be almost impossible to correct the WB to the same degree.
ok, thanks and noted. i am more concerned of the balance between my subjects and the sky cause they are the two main things in the composition and i want their wb to be correctly balanced. i'm fine with the wb of the artificial lights in the background to be off as they are artificial anyway.

i think gel-ing the flash is the right thing to do but i'm not too sure if orange is the correct colour to gel the flash. i know for sure that the colour temperature of the night sky in singapore is warmer than my flash light but i'm not sure by how much.
 

btym3011

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#8
the following is quoted from strobist.blogspot.com



"But I Never Get Purple Skies...

You probably don't hang out in 1/2-second light at near dark, then. You can get some pretty funky colors in deep twilight. But if you don't, the best advice I can give for a "sunset in a bottle" is to shoot on the FL white balance.

This adds 30CC's of magenta into the mix, which will amp any sunset -- even a nonexistent one. Just remember to green the flash with an FL gel, and maybe an added 1/4 CTO for warmth."



i'll give this a shot the next time i shoot portraits at night. orange gel stacked on green gel with flourscent wb in cam, interesting..
 

Richter

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Sep 11, 2005
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#9
i think gel-ing the flash is the right thing to do but i'm not too sure if orange is the correct colour to gel the flash. i know for sure that the colour temperature of the night sky in singapore is warmer than my flash light but i'm not sure by how much.
The Orange glow in the sky usually come from the street lamp which is of warm colour. Colour of flash is cool. As such, if you colour correct for the flash, the sky will be orange. If you colour correct for the sky which is warm, the subject lighted by the flash will appear cool. So the adding a CTO gel should be able to balance things out a little better. You may also wish to trying get a 1/2 CTO as well and play around to see which gives u the best effect that you desire. You can try the combination of 1/2 CTO, full CTO and 1/2+full CTO.
 

btym3011

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Sep 15, 2008
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#10
The Orange glow in the sky usually come from the street lamp which is of warm colour. Colour of flash is cool. As such, if you colour correct for the flash, the sky will be orange. If you colour correct for the sky which is warm, the subject lighted by the flash will appear cool. So the adding a CTO gel should be able to balance things out a little better. You may also wish to trying get a 1/2 CTO as well and play around to see which gives u the best effect that you desire. You can try the combination of 1/2 CTO, full CTO and 1/2+full CTO.
yup.. thanks for the advice. i will try the next time i shoot..
 

calebk

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Jul 25, 2006
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#11
Most of our street lamps are a far worse orange than even tungstens. As such, even if you colour correct your flash to 3200K by placing a full CTO over your flash, you are probably not going to get fully colour correct images.

What you can do is shoot in RAW, use your flash with a full CTO (or stack a full + 1/2 CTO and see if that brings it closer), and shoot the grey card, making sure it is also lit by street lamps, and that it is not overexposed.

This will serve as your reference picture for colour correction. The reason for this is to make sure your grey card is, well, grey (remember, don't overexpose), and lit by both light sources, so you can refer to it as a grey point and apply that setting to the other images.
 

bengchiat

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Mar 14, 2008
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#12
i was already shooting in RAW and it didnt help. shifting the colour temperature slider to remove the red tinge from the sky made my subjects go cool and correcting the colour temperature for proper skin tone made my sky go red. the only way i could think of was to cut my subjects out and correct the wb seperately from the rest of the picture but that would simply take too much time for all the pictures i want to keep.
open the RAW file,
select the correct balance for the sky,
save it as picA.
select the correct balance for ur subject,
save as picB.

stack them n erase away the wrong WB.

easier?

jude
 

Dream Merchant

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Staff member
Jan 11, 2007
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#13
Most of our street lamps are a far worse orange than even tungstens. As such, even if you colour correct your flash to 3200K by placing a full CTO over your flash, you are probably not going to get fully colour correct images.

What you can do is shoot in RAW, use your flash with a full CTO (or stack a full + 1/2 CTO and see if that brings it closer), and shoot the grey card, making sure it is also lit by street lamps, and that it is not overexposed.

This will serve as your reference picture for colour correction. The reason for this is to make sure your grey card is, well, grey (remember, don't overexpose), and lit by both light sources, so you can refer to it as a grey point and apply that setting to the other images.
:thumbsup:
 

ellery

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Jan 29, 2002
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#15
i'm having some problems balancing the white balance of my flash and the ambient light when shooting night portaits, outdoors in singapore.

when i use flash white balance, the sky turns a red colour. when i correct wb for ambient using a grey card, my subjects (who are lit by flash) has a very cool skin tone.

does anyone face the same problems? and how do i get around this issue. will warming up the flash using CTO gel help?
If u are using a correct grey card, is your subject lit from a mix of ambient and flash ? Which is the main light source ? Where did you place your grey card. If you did all that right, just be aware every time light config changes ie flash move to far or angled more a way ect then the custom wb captured has to be redone.
 

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