Thursday, 6 June 2013

Exercise: Judging colour temperature 2

For the second part of this exercise, the objective is to take 3 images, this time varying each image by altering the in-camera setting, so that for each set, one is taken with Auto WB, another with the daylight WB and the third using the shade WB setting.

For this I used the same setup as for part 1 of this exercise, with Gwideon the Griffin as the patient model.
Sun: Left to right AWB, Daylight, Shade
As could be expected, there is very little difference between the AWB and Daylight setting as these were taken around midday, however there is a big difference for the Shade setting.  Here it is not faithful to the colour of the scene at that time.
Shade: Left to right AWB, Daylight, Shade
This time, taken in full shade, I find that the AWB setting is too blue and my preference is for the Daylight setting.  This has warmed up the image just enough to make it pleasing.  The Shade setting produces an image which is far to orange as the natural colour of Gwideon is grey with a touch of green moss.
Evening: Left to right AWB, Daylight, Shade
I expected a more orange tint in the evening and found that the AWB and daylight settings were not giving me what I wanted, or how I felt were representative of the scene.  The Shade setting brought in the yellow/orange colour which I feel is more representative here.

Taking this to a different situation, I took another sequence using these settings, this time some of my neighbours' houses were the subject.  This was taken about 7 in the morning in sunshine.
Morning in Bradford Street: Top to bottom, AWB, Daylight, Shade
In this case, my preference is for the image with the Daylight setting (in the centre) as this seems to give both that morning glow without going over the top as the image with Shade WB.  The AWB image is rather too neutral.

The importance of understanding colour temperature and judging how this will affect the final image is the key lesson to be learnt here.  There are two ways of looking at this:

  • use the manual in-camera settings to give the best representation of the scene or the desired effect at the time of shooting; or
  • shoot RAW at AWB and adjust in the RAW editor.
There are benefits to both.  The main difficulty with the first option is seeing whether the chosen setting is giving you the desired effect.  I find that using the screen on the back of the camera is sometimes difficult depending on conditions, so would not use this to make such judgments unless working, in say a studio.

Strong colour casts can be introduced by adjusting White Balance, and these must be considered as part of the creative input into the overall composition of an image.

My preference is always to shoot RAW as this captures all the information I need and I can then adjust using my preferred RAW editor, Lightroom.

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