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Archive 2012 · Lighting and white balance
  
 
jdidomenico
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p.1 #1 · Lighting and white balance


Hi,
I photographed a project our company worked on -- interior architecture - I am frustrated with the results. I used multiple flash, Canon 5D III, 24-70L at varied exposures (see exif). I did not use a grey card - I should have. The trouble is there is different sources of light at different levels - natural light from outside, tungsten light, and my flash (canon 580 exII). I could not control the shadows as well as I would have liked. If I filled all spaces, the detail washed out from overexposure. To compensate on some of the yellows from the tungsten lights, I adjusted the white balance but it muted the colors too much (not that there are a whole lot of colors anyway). The pictures are just flat to me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jim




  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens    27mm    f/11.0    1s    160 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens    32mm    f/11.0    1/2s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens    24mm    f/11.0    1/3s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  




Dec 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #2 · Lighting and white balance


It's difficult when you've got those kinds of light sources conflicting with each other. Light Room 4 allows you to use the adjustment brush to change the white balance on parts of the image. Perhaps that could be used on the windows to warm up that light?

If you were doing it again, it would probably be be better to wait until later in the day when you don't have as much light coming in from the windows. You could gel your flash to match the color of the house lighting.



Dec 12, 2012 at 11:12 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #3 · Lighting and white balance


Jim,

I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of using a grey card. As you correctly pointed out, you are dealing with mixed lighting that ranges from warm (tungsten) to neutral (flash) to cool (outside). Depending on where you place your grey card, you'd get different readings anyway ... ... you can already see that in the pics without the card to tell you of this issue.

Looking at your exif data, I see that you had sufficiently long exposures to allow the ambient lighting to provide a good amount of exposure. Good news is that you've got really even lighting across the scene, bad news, you've got really even lighting across the scene causing it to have that "flat" look that you are talking about.

The other "bad news" at such long exposures is that you're blowing out your lights into some bright orbs in some places. Interiors are tricky as you've already figured out., and it this is your first stab at them, you're actually looking better than most I've seen when starting.

There are a few strategies in play, but mostly I try to use my flash to kick off the back wall, side wall, ceiling corner to raise the overall room lighting level. The reason I kick backwards is that it makes the light travel a little farther before reaching the scene ... which is of course has a lot of DOF to it ... so that the falloff is smoother as it moves across the room.

I tend to expose for my interior lights, so that I don't blow them or their color. Sometimes if the scene is to dynamic, I'll shoot bracket & blend in post. That and I like to use cross light with my flash in another room when I can. It kinda becomes a balancing act between overall exposure and light painting effects ... if that makes any sense.

You mentioned your PP efforts ... are these RAW, sooc jpg, or PP?

I normally work in PS, but for my RE pics, I do use LR as the sliders come in pretty handy for lifting shadows and balancing things, so either way can work ... but you'll find that PP is going to be your friend.

There are many ways you can go, but here is a quickie just to show some change, neither better, nor worse, but rather different. When shooting with such low contrast lighting (ambient), you will probably need to push your sharpening a bit harder than usual, and offset it somewhat by pulling your shadows & highlights. Like I said, PP will be your friend, and you'll kind of develop your own style for working with it. It'll be a combination of what you do in the field and in the file.

Mr. Bean is correct about time of day ... but when I'm shooting multiple houses in a single day, well you don't always get to choose the time, nor which way the windows are facing.






















Edited on Dec 13, 2012 at 09:54 AM · View previous versions



Dec 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
jdidomenico
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p.1 #4 · Lighting and white balance


Thank you both for your comments. I am not experienced in using flash and will spend some time experimenting over the holiday. I use Lightroom 4 for post processing but have not used the white balance adjustment brush... I'll give that a try. It is amazing that in using an ipad to view the shots in the field, they looked totally different than when downloading the RAW files back on my laptop. Should I have increased the iso and shutter speed to capture more color? Not watching the histogram is another mistake.

-Rustybug, your pp work makes the photo look alive... Nice touch;

...another goal over the holiday - spend time in LR...



Dec 12, 2012 at 11:39 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · Lighting and white balance


Thanks.

As you can see, the PP can render a different vibe ... it's really a lot up to you as to how your want to go with it. My tip ... get your neturals, neutral as best you can ... OR ... let the color show through strong for the drama. Just try to not get caught in the middle of the two by trying to split the diff, so that your white's look "off". People expect warm lighting, so that doesn't come as much of a surprise to them ... but that blue thing (my nemesis) is something I'm usually on guard for.

There's a thousand ways you can go as to how you dial it in ... but it won't be a "one click" kinda thing. Take your time with it and enjoy presenting it with your touch (if your project will allow for it).

BTW ... diggin' the comp that extends the scene back into the kitchen. Shooting "through" rooms can give a sense of depth. Also, I would have most likely rolled back the rug in the LL corner, so it had a nice clean hardwood run into the room without being broken by the rug. Staging can make a diff ... little things like angling chair or offsetting chairs so the "look" better in camera. Of course, always put things back when you're done.

Edited on Dec 13, 2012 at 12:52 AM · View previous versions



Dec 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM
jdidomenico
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p.1 #6 · Lighting and white balance


Thanks again for the tips. Composition is key and noticing things like the rug, well, I need to slow down and spend more time reviewing those details.


Dec 13, 2012 at 12:51 AM
 

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RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · Lighting and white balance


Yeah, I'm a stickler for trying to see things (I still miss 'em) like the tree sticking out of a persons head ... the sliver of a chair behind the post. If you can't pull the chair into the scene, put it in a different room. The table & chairs by the window, angle the left one so some more of the chair back show (or remove it for a "one chair" / table look). It's a thing you just get a feel for as you do it, as to whether it is adding to the scene, or detracting from it. Like I said ... you'll develop your own vibe with staging, lighting, comp and PP.

I try to get a general idea of my lighting first to look for "uh-oh, that'll be a problem" ... then do comp first working around it if necessary, stage second, then light. Or sometimes it is light, then comp, then stage ...

Edited on Dec 13, 2012 at 01:01 AM · View previous versions



Dec 13, 2012 at 12:58 AM
jdidomenico
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p.1 #8 · Lighting and white balance


Thanks again for the tips. Composition is key and noticing things like the rug, well, I need to slow down and spend more time reviewing those details.


Dec 13, 2012 at 01:00 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #9 · Lighting and white balance


jdidomenico wrote:
Composition is key


+1



Dec 13, 2012 at 01:02 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · Lighting and white balance


Different Room ... needs more work, but you get the gist. You can get a good feel for just how much the color changes across the room between the cool blue lighting coming in from the windows and the warm lighting of the room lights.

I mentioned earlier that you had long exposures to allow the ambient to be a significant part of the exposure @ good news/bad news. The other bad news about too much ambient is the color shifts that you see.

If your flash was overpowering everything, there would be little/no color shifts involved. The difficulty with overpowering with your flash is the placement of your flash to get even illumination levels throughout the room, and not have a bunch of harsh shadows being cast.

I'm guessing that you had your flash on some form of auto/ettl, etc. but had your exposure & aperture manually set as I see little influence from the flash. You might want to play with reducing your exposure times to 1/8 or 1/30 or to get a little bit more "color balance" help from your flash, while letting in a little less ambient color. That or set the power on your flash manually (I shoot all manual, aperture, shutter, flash).

We regularly think about "fill flash" for exposure / illumination / contrast levels, but not so many think about fill flash for WB over ambient. With a scene that has the cool/blue & warm/yellow mixing together, the neutral/white can help split the diff by directing your flash "into the light" so that they gradient fade the falloff/color into each other.

It doesn't fully correct things, but it can help reduce the magnitude of the warm vs. cool thing that is going on. More than one way to skin this cat ... and it will depend in part on your equipment, but also in part on the room involved (i.e. lighting, windows, wall color, floor color, structural considerations @ shadows, etc.). There isn't exactly "one way" to do it ... just have to study what the room presents and think how you can approach it with the arsenal you've got to work with.

HTH ... GL












Dec 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM
newhaven
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p.1 #11 · Lighting and white balance


Copied a selection of the highlights (light light luminosity mask) to a new layer, inverted it, and set the blend mode to hue. This removes a lot of the color cast.








Dec 16, 2012 at 06:19 PM





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