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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Colette M. LaCasse

member since: 3/22/2004
 

White Balance for Indoor Shooting


Hello! I recently purchased a Canon Digital Rebel, and I'm still learning all the bells and whistles. I will be taking pictures tonight of a Practical Nursing Pinning Ceremony at the community college. My question is, should I use a gray card to set the white balance, or should I choose the tungsten WB setting and put in portrait mode? I've always used a point-and-shoot before, and I'm trying to learn all the manual settings. My white balance has been screwing up a lot in my pictures with the Rebel .. .but I need to make sure I do it right for the Pinning Ceremony tonight. Any help and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!

6/10/2004 7:37:14 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  A gray card is used for setting exposure. You need a white card or subject for setting the white balance. See pp. 51-54 of your manual for setting white balance.

6/10/2004 8:38:36 AM

 
Dave Cross

member since: 4/8/2004
  Hi Colette. Set your manual WB as Jon says. Shoot RAW; then if it does all go wrong you can fix it with the RAW converter. Enjoy. let us know how you got on. Cheers, DC

6/10/2004 9:09:09 AM

 
Colette M. LaCasse

member since: 3/22/2004
  Wow! Thank goodness I asked, because I was well on my way to screwing up! The gray cards I just ordered and received have the gray on one side and white on the other. I will try that. I read pages 51-54 in my manual, but I still don't understand what I would use a gray card for. I'll keep researching that....I hate that I don't have any hands-on teaching here. Everything I'm trying to learn is online or through books! Thank you for your help!! :)

6/10/2004 9:28:43 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  White balance is explained in the manual, but the use of a gray card is not. Your camera meter does not see colors or even shades of gray. It just measures the intensity of the light reflected to it. The meter is calibrated to give proper exposure for light reflected from something 18-percent gray - which is what a typical scene would be give averaging each of its elements. A problem arises in non-typical scenes where very dark (eg., black tuxedos, dark wall, etc.) or very light colored elements (white wedding dress, white sand beach, snow) predominate. Left to its own devices, the in-camera meter will tend to overexpose dark subjects because it interprets the dark color as a lack of light. Similarly it will tend to underexpose light-colored subjects.

To use the gray card to set exposure, place it in the same light as your subject. Take your meter reading, and set the proper exposure by filling the viewfinder with the gray card (or spot meter on it).

6/10/2004 9:52:36 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  >>Left to its own devices, the in-camera meter will tend to overexpose dark subjects because it interprets the dark color as a lack of light. Similarly it will tend to overexpose light colored subjects.<<

Oops, that last line should be, "Similarly it will tend to underexpose light colored subjects."

6/10/2004 10:52:18 AM

 
Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Colette,

Most digital auto white balance settings don't work very well in artificial light -- you generally have to use a custom white balance setting. There is a handy product on the market called, "Expodisc" that is simply placed on the end of your lens to accurately set custom white balance. It's rather pricey, but is said to work very well. Believe it or not, the top of a 'Pringles' potatoe chip can works very well in most indoor lighting conditions. Just hold the top over the end of your lens and point your camera at the main light source and set your custom white balance -- you'll be amazed!
God Bless,
Greg

6/16/2004 8:25:06 AM

 
Chris 

member since: 6/25/2004
  I also just purchased a Digital Rebel. I read somewhere about the Pringles lid & decided to buy a can (I was hungry anyway). My lid is somewhat translucent. Is it supposed to be solid white where nothing can show through it?
I did a few quick tests indoor with the translucent lid & the results amazing. The colors were much more correct that with the auto-mode white balance. I am just wondering if I need to buy another can of Pringles.
Thanks!
Chris

6/25/2004 8:00:38 PM

 
Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Chris,
The translucent lid is correct. I find that setting WB with something that is nuetral white like a table cloth, etc. is a slightly more accurate, but in strong indoor lighting situations where a good white reference isn't available the Pringles lid is pretty darn close.
God Bless,
Greg

6/26/2004 7:08:56 AM

 
Chris 

member since: 6/25/2004
  That's seems weird to me because it's not really white. The best way I can think to describe is it looks like watered down milk. But...it did seem to work well.
Thanks

6/26/2004 2:47:55 PM

 
Chris 

member since: 6/25/2004
  I may be slow...but I am getting there. I just re-read the post & realized you have to hold the Pringles lid to the lens & point it at the light. On the first attempt, I couldn't get it to work because I had the camera in autofocus. I ended up placing the lid in the area I was photographing & setting WB with that image. That is why I thought the lid should be more white than translucent.

I think the "strong indoor lighting situation" is the key in your statement. If a flash is required, the Pringles lid will not work (because you are changing the light).
Will the lid work well for outdoor shots?
Thanks for your help!
Chris

6/26/2004 10:39:26 PM

 
Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Chris,
I don't think it will work very well outdoors -- but, I haven't really tried. There's nothing to stop you from experimenting! I find that my auto white balance is very accurate in most outdoor lighting, the only exception being heavy overcast and shaded situations with clear blue sky -- in those situations I usually use a preset WB to warm the image. If color cast is off slightly I can usually adjust it fairly easily in Photoshop. It's the indoor lighting that becomes a post-processing nightmare if it's way off.

God Bless,
Greg

6/28/2004 3:13:22 PM

 

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