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Old Jul 21, 2014, 11:57 AM   #1
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Default White Balance

To the moderators, I'm not sure where this post fits best, so please move it as you see fit.

I'm looking for confirmation or someone to straighten me out.

I want to set the white balance for a shot, but cannot use a white card. So I take a photo of something that has white in it. Then I use my Canon Menus to set "custom white balance' based upon the white available in that shot.

When using a white card, or more accurately, a grey card, I take a photo of the subject holding the gray card with the gray side showing. Then, in Digital Photo Pro or Lightroom (in RAW format) I use the eye-dropper and click it on the gray card and white balance is set.

However, I cannot use the eyedropper on something that is white. I need the gray card in a photo.

Am I on the right track?

Faithfully yours,
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Old Jul 21, 2014, 5:38 PM   #2
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When you use the white eyedropper tool, you are telling the software "This point is equal to white" in in the colorspace you are using (value of 255 for each color).
If the raw value of that point is not 255,255,255, it will be forced to that level, and all other colors/levels will be adjusted accordingly. If the lighting had a yellow cast to it, the result will be shifted towards blue, and if the photo is underexposed, it will be brightened. If it was a bit overexposed, the color shift will not be proportional, and the resulting color shift will be incorrect. One can get some pretty poor results this way.
The gray card, as you are using it is a better way, as there isn't the problem of incorrect balance (unless the shot is way overexposed).
The best way, when possible, is to place your gray card (or white, if you don't overexpose), under the light you are using, and set the camera custom white balance. You can then shoot under that light without worrying about color cast.


edit: Should have added that with most cameras, you will have to fill the frame with the card when setting the custom WB.

Last edited by VTphotog; Jul 21, 2014 at 5:41 PM.
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