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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 13 Apr 2006 (Thursday) 10:08
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How to ensure WB on RAW Post-processing is spot on?

 
csondagar
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Apr 13, 2006 10:08 |  #1

I would like to hear from all the RAW shooters on the technics you use to ensure your white balance is perfectly spot on during post processing. I tend to rely alot on my visual sense and am feeling that I donot always get it right or get consistent results. You can see some of photos here (external link).

How do you folks ensure that the white balance is right?



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Mike ­ Panic
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Apr 13, 2006 13:42 |  #2

plz take no offense to this

wb in your raw workflow should only be an issue when you are in a situation where the light is changing... say a wedding reception w/ disco lights, and even then you will prob be using a flash so a flash wb setting should be fine.

take the time to do a custom white balance at every chance you can get... its worth it to spend the 30-60 seconds before you shoot then add time in a raw workflow.

we are photographers, lets not forget how to photograph things.


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TeeJay
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Apr 13, 2006 14:47 |  #3

Surely the simple way is to include something (anything) that you know is white in the picture. Then click on that with the white dropper during pp to set your correct level.


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StealthLude
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Apr 13, 2006 19:43 |  #4

I always try and custom white balance...

Typically i never worry about it if im shooting outside or shooting with flash or strobes since i already know the color temp.. AB units are like 5600k. Not to mention, i always shoot RAW, so it dont bother me much. U should use custom WB tho, if the camera can do it, u should practice it.


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subtle_spectre
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Apr 13, 2006 20:55 |  #5

If someone shoots RAW, isn't setting the WB kind of useless? Now, shooting jpgs I know is an entirely different story! Funny, I was at a deal the other day, shooting jpgs and using CWB...there was only one white thing in the entire venue...my daughter's dress/skirt. Lesson: buy white card.



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tbfoto
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Apr 13, 2006 21:18 as a reply to  @ subtle_spectre's post |  #6

Better yet...buy a gray card




  
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csondagar
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Apr 13, 2006 22:04 as a reply to  @ tbfoto's post |  #7

Interesting. My question arose mainly because I have quite often run into situation where in the photo a white are (eg, someones white dress) does not look white. In this cases I would select the white picker and click on the white dress. In many cases when I do this I tend to mess up other colors. Or atleast that is what I think is happening.

I will have to check out your suggestions of creating a custom white balance. In this case, would I be taking a photo of, for example white sheet. Then setting that photo as my custom white balance. Is this how it is done?



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Ray ­ Marrero
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Apr 13, 2006 22:16 |  #8

I went with WhiBal. They even have a tutorial on their web site. I shoot Raw and Jpeg and the WhiBal really saves me time. I don't do a custom balance I just shoot and then shooot the WhiBal card in the same light, then go on to the next setting. It's faster than doing a custom balance.


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Mike ­ Panic
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Apr 14, 2006 12:56 as a reply to  @ TeeJay's post |  #9

TeeJay wrote:
Surely the simple way is to include something (anything) that you know is white in the picture. Then click on that with the white dropper during pp to set your correct level.

you loose so much data when you do that its not even funny - look at the photoshop histogram after you do that.


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Mike ­ Panic
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Apr 14, 2006 12:57 as a reply to  @ subtle_spectre's post |  #10

subtle_spectre wrote:
If someone shoots RAW, isn't setting the WB kind of useless?

no... its one more thing you have to do in a RAW workflow... 85% or more of the shots that people take could have been done in JPG if they hit their exposure properly and did a custom WB.

RAW is making photography a very sloppy profession


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dmp-potn
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Apr 14, 2006 14:13 as a reply to  @ Ray Marrero's post |  #11

Hello,

Ray Marrero wrote:
I went with WhiBal. They even have a tutorial on their web site. I shoot Raw and Jpeg and the WhiBal really saves me time. I don't do a custom balance I just shoot and then shooot the WhiBal card in the same light, then go on to the next setting. It's faster than doing a custom balance.

I agree and have gone this route as well. I'm not aware of a RAW processing program that will make use of the custom white balance setting, so it seems silly to use that when you're shooting RAW. Just get a whi-bal shot before, during, or after the shots that you take in each setting, and white balancing in the RAW processor is very fast (we are using Capture One today, but they all seem to work the same way).

Now I will admit to tweaking the white balance on a few shots after neutralizing them from the grey card. Sometimes I want a warmer tone, but that's an artistic decision that I can make once I'm starting from a consistant point.

It's also a good idea to color calibrate your monitor using something like the Gretag Macbeth Eye One Display 2, or Monaco Optix for the same reason, to improve consistancy from one shoot to the next and one image to the next, etc.

Hope this helps!


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KennyG
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Apr 14, 2006 16:46 as a reply to  @ Mike Panic's post |  #12

Mike Panic wrote:
RAW is making photography a very sloppy profession

You are wrong there Mike. You are making an assumption that people shoot using RAW to correct their mistakes in post-processing. The fact is most people use RAW because the in-camera processing to produce JPGs is nowhere near as good as the better of the RAW processing/conversion tools.

I prefer to process from RAW to TIF which will re-size far better than any JPG. My choice of RAW is based on producing the best possible image quality for high-gloss magazines and they prefer a 20-30mb TIF anyway. I produce JPG from the TIF for web use. I in no way regard myself as a sloppy professional.

If you want to record the accurate WB for shooting the scene in RAW, use a grey card or an Expodisk (my preferred method) and use that shot to apply WB in your conversion, by shot or by batch.


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Croasdail
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Apr 15, 2006 15:11 |  #13

RAW is making photography a very sloppy profession

Without a doubt Ken is not a sloppy professional... but just like another thread on the site, 9 out of 10 photographers did no formal white balancing to get their shoot correct. Rather they deferred to doing all the correction post shoot because they were shooting raw. Like Ken says, a simple shot of a grey card is going to give you a reference shot to make sure you are reproducing the image correctly. If you can reproduce that card on screen and in print... you know you are dialed in.


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DesignVHL
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Apr 19, 2006 09:37 |  #14

Just curious...I've been trying to figure out how to work w/ raw - just started shooting raw and i won't go back. I don't even bother wasting space w/ the raw + jpeg...my question is this: I shoot concerts. Say I bring a white (or grey) card w/ me and put it up on stage and shoot it a few times (Wouldn't the lighting change the cards white balance use -adding color)? Is it best to shoot when the stage is lit up w/out concert lighting on yet? How do i sample from that image to the other images? Do I need to drag a layer of that white(or grey card image) in to use for balance w/ the eye-dropper tool in one of the many image adjustment options in photoshop? Would I do this w/ photoshop Curves? Levels? Whats the best method? Just wondering...trying to get better at pp. :) Thanks for the advice!


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Apr 21, 2006 06:50 |  #15

You are wrong there Mike. You are making an assumption that people shoot using RAW to correct their mistakes in post-processing. The fact is most people use RAW because the in-camera processing to produce JPGs is nowhere near as good as the better of the RAW processing/conversion tools.

I recently learned that there's a quick way to see that.
Put your cam on a tripod & take 2 identical shots, one in RAW & one your best quality jpeg. Convert the RAW file to the best quality jpeg . Now look at the final file sizes of each. Interesting, isn't it?


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