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Old 03-15-2013, 03:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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okay, this is driving me crazy...

As some of you know I want to do museum consulting for digital imaging. Part of that is I create a kind of "object photography for dummies" guide so that volunteers and interns etc can take decent photos. I got a fellowship to do one last year, and have been contracted by a museum on campus to do one for them as well.

Im running into some problems with color correction. I'm trying to make a protocol for non photographers and I'm trying to make it easy. Right now what I have for color correction is that the person will shoot an image of every object with a gray card in the scene and with the camera on AWB. After importing to lightroom I then have them use the dropper tool to balance the image, and then apply it to the image without the gray card. The issue is that Im getting strange and inconsistent results in terms of color casts using this method. is there something Im doing wrong?
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have more than one type of light source in the photo? (i.e. halogen and florescent?) If so, WB could vary vased on placement of the grey card.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Do you have more than one type of light source in the photo? (i.e. halogen and florescent?) If so, WB could vary vased on placement of the grey card.
I tried to blackout the windows with cardboard, a bit gets through but not much. The lights are tungsten and the same type and brand.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What about turning auto white balance off? Most cameras have a "cloudy" white balance setting that I usually use as my fixed setting for reference if I don't have time to set it with a card in each scene. Some cameras, Nikons specifically have some contrast correction setting that can cause conflicts with auto white balance settings, I don't remember what the feature is called specifically, it's good to leave on but it just doesn't work well with auto white balance. I don't know if that's the problem but as the rules of cameras go, if it's set to auto, it's automatically going to create inconsistencies.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Are you asking about how to fix white balance once the picture is taken or taking a better picture in the mixed lightening of the museum?
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Are you asking about how to fix white balance once the picture is taken or taking a better picture in the mixed lightening of the museum?
I guess im asking what is a good methodology using a graycard that will actually give me an image that can be used for white balancing. Are there things that I should be mindful of in placing the graycard? I try to have it face the key light when I place it in the scene. anything else I should do?
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Be careful with your angle as you may be getting specular reflections that will throw your white balance off depending on the material of the card. I find they work far more reliably with a good soft diffuse lighting that falls evenly over the card. Also use a set white balance instead of just auto so each data sample is using the same baseline.

Watch out for any pulse based lights (Florescent, LED, etc) that has a cycle time if you are shooting at shutter speeds capturing only a fraction of a cycle, as this can easily throw things off as the exact colour changes throughout the cycle in most cases.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I guess im asking what is a good methodology using a graycard that will actually give me an image that can be used for white balancing. Are there things that I should be mindful of in placing the graycard? I try to have it face the key light when I place it in the scene. anything else I should do?
You can create custom white balances in-camera. I've used this indoors and had great luck with it. In lightroom, find a neutral area to click the dropper on.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Some example images would be nice.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Also, just an obvious thing to check, you mentioned using the dropper tool, did you set your software to balance off a gray card or leave it defaulted so it's thinking the gray card is pure white?

Another really obvious is everyone is shooting in raw, not jpeg? Is really tough to properly white balance a jpeg since it compresses the image as shot.
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