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| p.1 #17 · How to effectively use a gray card (white balance)? |
I like to pretend I am shooting 5500K balanced slide film all the time, so I set all my daylight shoots for 5500K, +5 magenta in LR. That seems to work out well. Early morning and late evening shots now look like they should on "fixed" slide film, and we are culturally used to that.
For tough mixed lighting scenarios like small club gig shooting, I usually set a custom WB based on the default setting of the club lighting at the beginning of the set, and let it fall where it may as they change about with different color...Show more →
In the first case, that is a matter of taste, I suppose. It often seems to result in something a bit too warm in the case of landscape. For example, my "golden hour" shot ends up way too "golden" when I do that... and the "blue hour" shot ends up looking a bit intense. If you like things on the warm side, 5500 and +5 (also the default in ACR for "daylight") can work, but it does warm things quite a bit.
I'm not so sure that the "culturally used to" slide film notion works quite as well as it might have at one time, though it probably does depend on the person and the context. For shared jpg images on computer screens it could work in a number of cases, especially when people like things overly saturated. For fine art print work, well, it depends.
I'm with you on how to handle the artificial lighting shots, such as your club shooting along with some theatrical photography I've done along with extensive night photography. Stage lighting is really tricky stuff. There are often many different colors of light gels in play, and the lighting levels can also vary greatly between shadow and highlight areas. With night photography, at least in urban areas, it is not uncommon to have a number of light sources with wildly divergent color temperatures - incandescent, fluorescent, sodium vapor, moon light, and now LCD. On one hand this sounds like an impossible complexity... but looked at another way it give the photographer great freedom of interpretation.