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Archive 2013 · Best way to balance blue ambient light

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best way to balance blue ambient light

I will be shooting an event from 6p-10p which will take place on a rooftop without a ceiling, open to sky. Gray walls extend between 4- 8 ft high. Blue lights on the walls and under seating area. Pretty dark . I tried different Kelvin Temps and 7960 neutralizes the walls and chairs while keeping lighting blue.

I am most concerned with skin tones. How would you approach this? Just shoot with Flash wb and let BG go Or neutralize the background with 7960 Kelvin WB and gel with blue? Or ?? Anyone

Aug 05, 2013 at 07:28 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best way to balance blue ambient light

Lose the ambient. Just shoot with onboard flash or, if you're willing to take the sophisticated route, use off-camera flash for key and on-camera for point fill.

Aug 05, 2013 at 07:33 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best way to balance blue ambient light

I guess it depends on how much of the 'blue ambience' of the background you want to keep. You don't say, but I'll make a wild guess that the 'blue lighting' is some sort of intentional effect for a pool or party area.

If that's the case, I think your idea to gel the flash might be a good one - I wouldn't go overboard though, pick a gel that gets you somewhere between the normal 5500K of the flash and the and the 7960K ambient you measured. If you can't do a proper test in advance, it's probably better to err on the side of less correction rather than more.


Aug 05, 2013 at 04:17 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best way to balance blue ambient light

That depends ... are you using the ambient from the blue lights as lighting for illumination of your subjects or are the lights/lighting a subject unto themselves.

My guess is that you treat the blue lights and the ambiance they create onto the gray walls as part of the decor ... just like you would a painting of a blue ocean scene. The painting would not be illuminating your subjects (i.e. people), and neither is your "blue lighting" unless you are really dragging your shutter a lot. The blue lights are painting the walls and floor, not illuminating people (at least not as much as your flash will be).

Remember that your subject lighting is going to be light to subject and your flash to subject is going to be nominally effected by some dim, blue continuous light source. To me, it sounds like the blue lights are "self-illiuminating" / light painting objects, not sources of illumination for you to use for exposure purposes while shooting with flash.

If you gel to match (theory) you'll set your WB such that the walls are then neutral gray ... which, imo is like taking the painting of the ocean off the all and shooting a bare wall.

Shoot your skin with flash and balance to flash, letting the blue paint the walls and floor as they were designed to do. That is with respect to the decor blue lighting.

As to the open sky between 6pm and 10pm ... that ambient blue overhead sky will be the blue that you will be more concerned with for WB balancing (assuming no direct sunlight @ golden hour) with your flash, as it is your source of illumination for your subjects (for a while, depending on time zone location) as you transition to twilight and eventually dark. You could gel your flash to match that cyan/blue based on gray card reading from overhead sky light rather than your blue decor lighting.

Unless the shoot is tonight ... I'd recommend doing some test shots on location in advance.

Aug 05, 2013 at 09:13 PM

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