Creative White Balance and Link Love

My first order of business is to reciprocate some very kind words sent my way yesterday by two Photoshop & Photography Blogroll members. Rob Jones of Towner Jones Photography included me and, by extension, the blogroll in his weekly “Monday Morning 10” and also Jason Anderson of Canon Blogger who is also making a pretty large move and has had over 60,000 visitors. Congrats! And Jason, to answer your question, I have a very supportive and understanding wife!

And now on to the meat of the post.

As I was reading Joe McNally’s The Moment it Clicks I was reminded of a number of white balance and lighting techniques that my dad and I have been using for a number of years in our video work.

Most of the time with our digital cameras we set our white balances to match the different shooting situations we are in. If we’re outsite we set it to daylight. Inside, to tungston or fluorescent. And so on. Or, with RAW, we can even set it after the fact if we make a mistake or the auto setting isn’t quite right.

Now, those things are always important to keep in mind when trying to make your image look just right. But lets take a moment to think about how else we can use white balance besides just getting the highlights, shadows and neutral grays to look more natural.

But shooting with different color temperatures acting in your scene, in a mixed lighting situation, can offer some interesting possibilities into your work. For example, if you’re shooting indoors with tungsten light and you allow some daylight to be introduced you can get a really nice blue light on your background since daylight is “cooler” than tungsten. Alternately, if you light your subject with daylight, or a contstant light source balanced for daylight, and then add a tungsten light as a backlight or to light your background you will get a nice warm rim light on your subject and/or your subject will look like they are in a very warm and cozy setting.

It’s usually not as interesting in the setups I’ve done for video, but I can imagine the possibilities with using fluorescent as well with the greenish light that it produces. Or even the yellow or orange of sodium-vapor street lights.

Next time, try introducing multiple light sources with different color temperatures in you next shoot. You may find some very cool results! (No pun intended.)

  • It must be more than that Jason – mine is pretty understanding too – and I have worlds to go. It’s like Babe Ruth baseball versus MLB…

    July 22, 2008 at 10:05 pm
  • Well, back in January of ’07 I committed myself to posting something new everyday and then eventually cut back to every weekday. I also do the profile series, in part, to give me a break so I don’t have to actually write anything!

    July 23, 2008 at 9:24 am

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