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Old Apr 11, 2009, 10:04 AM   #1
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Hi folks, I have a what is probably a really silly/basic question!

I have hired a Bowens flash head and want to ensure I get as close to perfect colour temperature in my photos at capture, rather than tweaking it all in photoshop afterwards.

So... I figured I will need to do a custom white balance.

The Bowens online info says the strobes output a Flash colour temperature of approx 5600k, so, provided I have reasonably correct exposure, do I simply just dial in the Colour temperature to 5600k in camera, then in theory I'll achieve neutral whites in my photos taken with the strobe as main light?

Previously, I have shot on AUTO white balance, then at end of shoot shot a gray card, for post white balance correcting and applied to all images, but I have thought about my process and I believe it is slightly flawed. I believe the Auto WB would be applying varying temperatures based on the dominent colours present in each photo, for example, if one photo featured a big red object, then I am now thinking the AUTO WB may try to correct & apply more blue, whereas another photo may feature a big blue object in the scene and then the AUTO WB may apply a different temperature again trying compensate for the dominent colours within that particular photo, can any one advise if my assumptions are correct?

And if so, if using the gray card method for post correction, should I set the camera's White Balance to one of the camera's presets so at least all the photos taken at the time will have a standard tempertaure that can then be uniformly corrected in photoshop?

Any advice, as always is much appreciated, Happy Easter everybody!
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 9:18 AM   #2
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you haven't said what camera you use, but it doesn't really matter. Just set the custom white balance with the rented strobes (check your camera manual if you need to) and away you go. I don't know whether you shoot RAW or Jpeg, but you will be as close as possible to the best WB setting with the minimum of corrections in post processing.
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 6:49 PM   #3
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Hi, Gerry;

If your strobe was the only light source, then using it's color temperature would be the correct thing to do. If it is mixed with tungsten lighting, however, the WB can be skewed by this, so the best way is to use a gray card and set custom WB.

Using auto WB and correcting after the fact should work just as well, as long as you are shooting RAW. If you shoot in jpeg, it may not be as accurate. (if that is what you are looking for)

With large areas of a dominant color, there can be, as you mention some color cast, caused usually by reflections from it adding to the other parts of the photo. Using bounce flash with a non-white ceiling can do the same thing. Let your eye be the judge.

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Old Apr 12, 2009, 9:38 PM   #4
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Thanks guys,

Well the shoot is scheduled in a few days time. The flash will be my main light source so I will dial in 5600k temp into the camera, (and stay with that throughout) shoot the scene, then also do a gray card shot at the bginning/end so that I still have that to check against in post editing. I will be taking a lot of photos so unfortunately might run out of storage, so JPG may be my only option. However by dialling to strobes temp. then also shooting gray card will give me a fighting chance at achieving accurate colours.

as always thankyou for your advice!

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