Friday, November 9, 2012

Whenever I photograph I include a gray card that enables me to adjust the color balance later in post-processing.  It is not that I always balance the color to a normal setting.  Sometimes I prefer the color cast to be more cool or warm.  But at least I know what "normal" is and can deviate from there.

The card I carry with me is the QPcard 101.  It is small enough to conveniently fit in a vest pocket or camera bag.  The images below show a rather dramatic example of how effective these cards can be.

I took this photo with available window light very late in the day under exceptionally cloudy conditions.  Under such circumstances, colors will normally tend to a heavy blue range.   After correction in post processing the colors were restored to normal.

Here is a before and after using the QPcard 101.  The upper photo shows the results using an auto white balance camera setting.  It tends heavily towards a blue cast.  In post-processing I clicked on the white or gray area to correct the color to normal.  The gray block usually results in a slightly warmer rendering.

This is the finished photo. Once I had achieved the correct color balance, I pushed it a bit further to warm it up.

Just to show the extent of this color correction method, this image was taken even later in the day using only moon light.  The exposure was 10sec at f/8 and ISO400.  Under these circumstances the true color was completely skewed.  Nonetheless, I was able to easily correct it to normal in post-processing with one click of a mouse button.

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