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Old Aug 15, 2012, 7:28 AM   #1
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Default Gray Card

Hi, I have another question!! Thanks to everyone here on the forum, you have been such a support.

Another photographer gave me a gray card to try. I've been using it to find exposure and set the custom white balance on my Nikon d90. At times I'm feeling it is too warm or too yellow? Other times I'm loving it.

Does anyone here use them or have any tips.

Here is an example of a too yellow?? Or, are my eyes just playing tricks?

Sorry, my model (daughter) had had enough for the day.
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Last edited by Wink11; Aug 15, 2012 at 7:31 AM.
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 7:30 AM   #2
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oh, the light was side light about 2-3ish hours before sundown.
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 8:01 AM   #3
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Your first photo is somewhat too blue. The second is too yellow and a bit overexposed (IMO). How are you using the gray card? Your camera should have a way to set custom WB by taking an exposure of the gray card, which ideally, should fill the frame.
You would normally not reset the custom WB for every shot, but only when the light changes radically. I generally use custom WB only indoors, or when there is mixed lighting, such as sodium vapor lamps outdoors.
I recognize the expression on your daughter's face - its the "Oh, Mom!" Similar to the "Oh, Dad!".

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Old Aug 15, 2012, 8:42 AM   #4
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Thanks Brian.

Yes, I was filling the frame and using the pre- selection on my camera to set the custom. Yes, it seems overexposed!! Do you ever use these cards to get your exposure?
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 8:52 AM   #5
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I use a lens cleaning cloth that happens to be 18% gray. It's always worked well for me for setting a custom white balance (on my D90, btw.) Adorama has this one.

I don't use it for exposure, relying instead on the camera's own exposure system.
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 8:57 AM   #6
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Thanks, TCav! I'll look into it. Here is another sample of setting the custom WB. I did add medium contrast to this photo in pp. Does this seem too yellow?
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 9:37 AM   #7
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How are you positioning the gray card when you set the custom WB? Your first shot is too blue, even on the gray card, so setting the custom WB should have corrected it. The last two are too yellow. Even in the one with the gray card, the gray card looks too yellow which should have been corrected when you set the custom WB.

When you set the custom WB, is the card facing about the same way as it is in the photos? or was it laying flat on the ground? When you set the custom WB, was the gray card in your shadow, or was it lit in the same incident light as tthe subject(s) in your photo(s)? What color(s) were you wearing?

None of your photos have any EXIF data, so we can't go to that to see how your camera was set up. Is there any way you can avoid stripping off the EXIF data from the photos you upload?
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 10:22 AM   #8
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Hmmm, EXIF data? I tried to resize the long side to 900. Can you see it now? I'm not sure where/how to look for the EXIF data. I'm using LR3 to export.

Yes, the gray card is in the same light facing out. I try and have the girls hold it flat by their bellies facing me. No, no shadow. This is closer to sunset? I have to find another one of my test.... I just want to make sure to include this EXIF data you talk about!
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 1:02 PM   #9
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EXIF (EXchangeable Image File format) data is information stored in the file header by the camera when you take the picture. Some image editting applications strip off the EXIF header when processing an image. There are many applications that can read the EXIF info for images. The one I use is Opanda IExif; it operates both as a stand alone application and as a browser plugin.

Instead of doing an "Export", you might try to just resize the image to something acceptable to Steve. This may preserve the EXIF header.
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 4:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wink11 View Post
Thanks Brian.

Yes, I was filling the frame and using the pre- selection on my camera to set the custom. Yes, it seems overexposed!! Do you ever use these cards to get your exposure?
Gray cards were first meant to measure exposure, and are still useful for situations like snow. Though the palm of your hand and open up one or two stops works well - and you always have your hand with you.

When you use the card to set WB do you set it so it fills the entire field of view?

A better experiment for testing the WB is a shot of a white sheet of paper. If it fills the field of view and you use auto exposure it should come out gray, not a yellowish gray.
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