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Old May 2, 2014, 9:38 PM   #1
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Default Custom White Balance Question

I had a custom white balance problem that I've never had before.

I took a photo of a white card, and used it to set the white balance for customer white balance. But all my colors came out goofy.

If I change ISO, after I have already set my custom white balance, will that mess up the white balance and deliver strange colors?

Also, this happened in the evening, outdoors with no flash.

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Old May 3, 2014, 2:43 PM   #2
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I have had this happen when using white cards to set custom WB. If the exposure when setting WB is too high, the sensor oversaturates with the ambient light, skewing the WB.
I normally use a gray card to avoid this, but being careful of exposure setting works, too.


P.S. Some outdoor lighting, particularly sodium vapor lamps, emit so much of their light in just one narrow band of color, that you can't really get an accurate WB from them.

Last edited by VTphotog; May 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM.
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Old May 5, 2014, 8:31 AM   #3
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Would I be better off using the 18% gray card?

If so, are there any tips on how to use it? I've only used the white side of it.


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Old May 7, 2014, 9:34 PM   #4
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I'm not using a Canon P&S, but this should apply.

I'd always use a gray card to set custom white balance, especially outdoors. I do seem to do better setting the custom white balance at/near the aperture, ISO and EV I expect to use.

Place the card at or near the subject position and in the same light to set the white balance. That should neutralize the light on the subject, but can also affect the lights in the background. It can create an eerie effect with some mixtures of landscape lighting.

You might have to reset the custom white balance from shot to shot if you change position or direction.

I'd normally use the Daylight white balance preset between dusk and dawn to get the more accurate look of the outdoor lighting in a landscape shot. Auto or custom can neutralize the colors, like muting a sunset.

There are so many types of lighting used in landscapes that it's very difficult to control all of them at once. I might have to use a Kelvin adjustment to balance them out.

Long exposures can add another layer of complexity to outdoor low light shots with artificial lighting involved, if that's what you're trying to do. A light in the distance can creep in at 5-6 seconds or more and cause a really strange look.

I'm assuming you're describing something like an outdoor garden/pond/fountain area that would have artificial lighting involved. That can be difficult.
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