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David M. Knights

Yellow photographs

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I notice that a lot of model photos posted here and at other forums tend to have a very yellow cast to them. Can one of our resident photo experts explain "white balance", how to use it, and what it can do to give you truer colors on your model photos?

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I notice that a lot of model photos posted here and at other forums tend to have a very yellow cast to them. Can one of our resident photo experts explain "white balance", how to use it, and what it can do to give you truer colors on your model photos?

 

David,

 

It's all in the lighting. It looks to me like many of the models you are talking about are shot: inside, under flourescent bulbs, in flashless conditions, with a longer exposure.

 

The ABSOLUTE best way to photograph models is under natural sunlight, as most photos of the prototypes were taken outdoors under natural lighting. You don't have to go outside, in front of a large window will work (if you can run the cat out of the sunny spot!)

 

Use your smallest aperture f-stop (f/22, f/16 or such), fastest practical shutter speed (1/120th or so), low film number (ASO25 or ASO100 if real film) and natural light.

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All light is not created equal... and our eyes are pretty good at adjusting to the differences. So what looks white to us may not to your camera.

 

I think most (digital) cameras do a pretty good job of auto white balancing assuming a couple things...

 

First, the lighting needs to be consistent - mixed incandescent and sunlight is not good, for example.

Second, I usually take a picture of a neutral grey or white object that fills the frame. This may trigger the auto-balance. If not, I do it manually.

 

If the balance does not work, I then have the image of the test shot which I can balance in my image editing program (Apple's Aperture) than I apply that adjustment to the entire set.

 

Now if we're talking film cameras here, that's a different issue.

 

Eric

 

 

I notice that a lot of model photos posted here and at other forums tend to have a very yellow cast to them. Can one of our resident photo experts explain "white balance", how to use it, and what it can do to give you truer colors on your model photos?

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The "color" of light depends on the temperature of the emitter. Anything that glows (incandescent), like a light bulb, usually has a reddish cast to it. Flourescent lights are the result of "excited" gas (I've had that myself after a good mexican meal) and has a blueish-green tint. Sodium lights, which you will find at most larger venues due to their intense light and cheaper operating cost, has a yellow or green hue. That's why pictures from a lot of contests look yellowish. Natural light is the closest to pure white as its source is rather hotter than either of the other two, although it still has more of a red contingent. Hotter stars emit purer "white" light, but you don't want to get into intra-galactic travel to take your pictures.

 

You compensate by either doing what Eric and/or James suggest or load your photos onto your computer and use the "Adjust" feature of many photo programs and you can lengthen the exposure, change the tint and a whole host of other things.

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My E-500 has a very nice, easy to use, white balance feature. I take a photo of a white sheet of paper at the begining of a photo session and the camera does the white balance from there. It makes a huge difference.

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