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Archive 2013 · Processing technique: over gelled flash
  
 
ppmax
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Hi,

I thought this might be the best place to ask since its fundamentally a lighting question...please move this to another board if desired.

I was shooting some family portraits at sundown and had two flashes firing. Since the ambient lighting was a bit cool I added a CTO to my main and a half CTO to my secondary.

After reviewing it appears my subjects are a bit too orange. The surrounding environment looks great though.

Any tips or suggestions for cooling off the subject--but not the scene--in post? I'm hoping one of you pros has a killer technique you are willing to share.

PS I can't post a photo yet because I'm still on vacation and won't be able to process pics until I return home next week.

Thx
PP



Mar 28, 2013 at 06:17 AM
lifthard2001
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


What software do you have? If you have LR you can use the adjustment brush and set the temp on it


Mar 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Mask it in phohoshop or use a brush in lightroom and change the colour temp.


Mar 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


You can do as already noted but I would worry about the subjects before the scene. Use whatever white balancing adjuster/clicker you have in the program you have to adjust the color of the subjects; such as clicking on a white or grey object that is lite by your gelled flash. Get their color correct then adjust the scene if absolutely desired.


Mar 28, 2013 at 03:46 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


cordellwillis wrote:
You can do as already noted but I would worry about the subjects before the scene. Use whatever white balancing adjuster/clicker you have in the program you have to adjust the color of the subjects; such as clicking on a white or grey object that is lite by your gelled flash. Get their color correct then adjust the scene if absolutely desired.


+1 @ the variability of the scene being more tolerant/accommodating to the viewer's eye than the subject. Lead with your strength, minimize your weakness. The variability in natural lighting is pretty wide, but we like to see people pretty spot on as our vision would naturally accommodate for in person. Once you get them to your liking, the mask or brush work at the scene can follow.

With mixed lighting scenarios, I like to check the individual channels to see if there is a native mask just waiting to be harnessed for more separation.



Mar 28, 2013 at 04:48 PM
ppmax
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Thanks for all the suggestions folks. I use Aperture primarily but dabble in LR now and then (the gradient tools is awesome and there's nothing like it in Aperture).

I'll post a pic when I get back.

Thx!
PP



Mar 28, 2013 at 07:23 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


The best option when shooting in situations like that is set the WB to the flash which is lighting the faces to make them neutral because in person when we look at faces our brains "normalize" our color perception to see them more or less normally. Then in PP adjust the background as needed. In Photoshop I create original and duplicate layers, adjust the duplicate and blend into the normally balanced faces with a mask.

In any case when you gel flash it should be to match the flash to the ambient so all the sources are the same temp. So you'd use CTO indoors to match flash to tungsten, but when the ambient is cooler you'd need to add a cooler correction gel to the flash. In the case of cooler indirect light that cooler than daylight the simple solution would be to set WB to flash or shade (usually about the same K temp) and both would be rendered "normally" i.e., neutral. The warner sunlit background would be rendered a bit warmer than seen by eye making it look even better than if shot with daylight WB.

Even when technically neutral isn't the ideal balance visually its more predictable to capture the faces neutral with Custom WB off a gray card and use the card in a reference shot. Then in PP you can adjust the test shot with the card to taste on the monitor, then copy / paste the settings into all the other RAW files in the batch to adjust them the same way.




Mar 29, 2013 at 03:13 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


ppmax wrote:
...I was shooting some family portraits at sundown and had two flashes firing. Since the ambient lighting was a bit cool I added a CTO to my main and a half CTO to my secondary.


I assume you mean the ambient lighting was a bit warm (shifted toward red/orange). That's typical of sunrise/sunset light. If it actually was cool (shifted toward blue), then the proper course would have been to gel your lights with blue to match the ambient, not orange to counter it (which doesn't work); or just leave the flash ungelled, because xenon light is pretty blue already.

I agree with what others have said: that you should adjust the faces to look pleasing, and only worry about the background if it shifts way too far when you correct the faces.

I don't use Aperture or Lightroom, so I can't help you with specifics, but to use Photoshop terminology you can create an adjustment layer and then mask it to only affect the areas you want it to, and only to the degree that you want.



Mar 29, 2013 at 03:36 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Thanks again--I did mean warm instead of cool

Also great suggestions for correcting for faces first, then worrying about the rest as a secondary consideration.

BrianO: I use photoshop occasionally, and will keep your suggestion in mind I I strike out with Aperture and/or LR.

Cheers--
PP




Mar 29, 2013 at 06:47 AM
John Skinner
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Your BEST option for this baring the suggestions mentioned is to incorporate a {assport Color Checker into your workflow. Just seconds to take that shot, import that profile into Lightroom or ACR and your 100% spot on with the flexibility to warm, cool...

Takes just seconds, saves hours.



Mar 30, 2013 at 09:28 PM
 

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RobertLynn
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


John Skinner wrote:
Your BEST option for this baring the suggestions mentioned is to incorporate a {assport Color Checker into your workflow. Just seconds to take that shot, import that profile into Lightroom or ACR and your 100% spot on with the flexibility to warm, cool...

Takes just seconds, saves hours.


i've heard many things about the color checker, and I'm so close to buying one.



Apr 01, 2013 at 12:47 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Argh, I have a Passport and forgot to use it this time!


Apr 03, 2013 at 12:04 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


I finally had a chance to work on some of the files and would love an opinion or two.

[edit]
My problem was caused by not setting a fixed white balance on the camera when using the gels. Lesson learned.
[/edit]

Here is the original, plus two files processed with Aperture and Lightroom. Lightroom has a great feature where you can use an adjustment brush to change the color temp within a brushed region. Aperture had brushes first, and I love them, but it's beyond me why I can't do a similar color temp change within a brushed region with Aperture <end rant />

Which do you prefer? IMO the cooler background of Aperture image gives the subjects a bit more pop, but I feel the LR image is more faithful to the color of the sunset. The subjects in the LR image are still a little warm...this was just a quick edit. The subjects in the Aperture image may need a bit of a push...

Thanks much--
PP

Original:

aperture-orig by ppmax, on Flickr

Aperture:

aperture-test by ppmax, on Flickr

Lightroom:

lightroom-test by ppmax, on Flickr



Apr 05, 2013 at 12:04 AM
scottam10
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


I prefer the more natural skin tones of the Aperture image; the purple sunset looks fine

As others have said, you should gel your flash to match (not counter) the colour of the ambient light; however in this case there isn't much ambient light left.

Personally, I would have shot these earlier in the day with more ambient light, the harsh flash shadow and mostly dark BG aren't doing you any favours.



Apr 05, 2013 at 12:30 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Thanks for the reply.

You are right about the timing of the shots--should have been a bit earlier. I remember the light being pretty yellow/orange which is why I used CTO. I forgot to set my white balance on the camera to match.

If I had shot a bit earlier, would you have used a gel? What color?

Regarding the harsh shadows, looking closer at the highlights in the eyes it looks like my 2nd flash didnt fire for some reason...I had my A off to the left and B on the camera as a fill...looks like it didnt fill

Thanks again for the help
PP





Apr 05, 2013 at 01:05 AM
scottam10
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Yes, while you have orange sunlight the CTO is right, however once you lose that golden direct light, the ambient becomes quite blue very quickly
- once this happens the CTOs need to come off, perhaps even replace them with blue gels.

As you said, camera WB should be set to match (or shoot RAW and set WB in post)



Apr 05, 2013 at 01:20 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


Here's a picture where both flashes fired. Still some harsh shadows, but better than the other. Im the dork on the right side...


aperture-2flashes by ppmax, on Flickr



Apr 05, 2013 at 01:23 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


I took a stab at working from your original.

As always, one can S&P to taste, particularly when it comes to sunset skies, etc.

I keyed in on the inside flap of the diaper, a hot spot on the babies shirt for and the letter A on the girls shirt for WB (they all read nearly the same at max R, middle G, low B). In review of the individual channels, red was really hot, so I brought up green and blue, as red was too hot to reduce. That is what gave me my WB for the group. Then I masked off the background/sunset to keep it from shifting with the WB adjustments as well as added some extra flavoring, this time masking off the group. (CS6)








Edited on Apr 05, 2013 at 02:05 AM · View previous versions



Apr 05, 2013 at 01:43 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


I like what you did with the BG RustyBug. Looks like you increased saturation in various spots in the sky?

When I corrected in Aperture I set white balance by picking a gray stripe in my kids shirt, then warmed it up a bit.

Looking at the image again, I feel like I should have set my A on the right side of the frame, to possibly get some flash highlights from the same side as the sun...

Thanks for your input!
PP



Apr 05, 2013 at 02:01 AM
ppmax
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Processing technique: over gelled flash


I just refreshed and saw you added a frame too; the white/dark looks great!

PP



Apr 05, 2013 at 02:02 AM
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