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Thread: Color Balance - how picky are you?

  1. #1
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Color Balance - how picky are you?

    I ask because of recent and arduous research into the subject - resulting in the sale of two cameras, the purchase of another, purchase a Gretag-Macbeth mini-card, downloading of Adobe DNG applications and much brain-bashing in the areas of white balance, standard illuminants, light sources and the dreaded color spaces. As a retired guy, one has plenty of time but . . ouch!

    The conclusion was that improvement in color balance in the finished image obeys the law of diminishing returns versus the amount of workflow put in. In my line of photography (watch trading), much of that workflow is wasted effort and a simple WB with a gray card in-camera does the job most of the time!

    How about you?

    Ted

  2. #2
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    For portraits, I'm quite careful. People tend to like to have themselves and their clothes look "right", especially if I am doing prints. I will do my final colour evaluations under indoor daylight conditions. For images that are primarily going to be viewed on the internet or on computer screens, I tend to be less fussy, given the poor colour settings and technical limitations of most people's screens.

    For landscapes and city scapes I tend to be on the wild side and go for over-saturated, vibrant colours. Sometimes I will go subdued, even monochrome, if the setting is right. Reality is not my goal in these shots; rather I try to make a statement.

  3. #3
    Boatman's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    I think your conclusion is right on the money. From what I read, color balance is very important in commercial photography where matching fixed logo colors and such is critical. As noted by GrumpyDriver it also comes into play in portraits. For situations where the viewer is not going to have any idea what the original color cast was, I can't see spending a lot of time getting the color balance as it was, and you may want to create your own coloration. Who's going to know?

  4. #4
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Not something I pay a great deal of attention to, if I like the look of the image I don't fiddle.

  5. #5
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    color balance is very important in commercial photography where matching fixed logo colors and such is critical.
    Quite true. Companies want their logo colours bang on. If this is an issue the company should be able to provide the Pantone colour numbers and a good match can be sythesized / confirmed from this information.

  6. #6
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    These images are actually the same image which was processed in LR4. Very little PP was done; vibrance was increased to about 50, no change in saturation, and no other colour adjustments.

    They were shot at 5:03 pm 25 September 2006 as RAW files. At this location, the sun was no longer shining on anything in the image - it was is full shade.

    The more gold/yellow area of the image is the reflection of a birch tree with yellow leaves. The leaves in the water are water lilies; some were starting to change colour, but were essentially green.

    The first version one uses a "shade" WB.

    The second version uses the "As Shot" WB as measured by the camera when the image was taken.

    Neither is a totally accurate rendition of reality - so which do you choose?

    I have a preference, but it's based on aesthetic considerations not white balance. Others will no doubt choose a different image.

    To some degree, this shows how meaningless (from an aesthetics point of view) that WB can be. If as suggested in the previous post, it is the colour of a company logo or the colour of an item for sale, then WB can be very meaningful, and even essential.

    But from artistic considerations, the choice is far less simple.

    EDIT: Process = 2012, Camera Profile = Landscape


    Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Color Balance - how picky are you?
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 16th May 2012 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Added information

  7. #7
    rtbaum's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    #1 looks best in my opinion, #2 is way too blue for my taste

  8. #8

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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Hi!

    I'm new to photography and I just can't decide between a few things - can someone help me?

    - Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon? (I've heard from Nikon shooters that Nikon are better)

    - Should I shoot RAW of JPEG? (each tell me that their way is better)

    - Should I process my shots on a Mac or a PC? (Mac people tell me that a Mac is better) (or do I really need to process my shots at all?)

    - Should I buy Photoshop - Lightroom - Photoshop Elements - Paint Shop Pro or use GIMP? (I hear so many different viewpoints on this)

    - Oh - and should I use UV filter for protection?

    Looking forward to reading your answers
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 17th May 2012 at 09:10 AM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi!

    I'm new to photography and I just can't decide between a few things - can someone help me?

    - Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon? (I've heard from Nikon shooters that Nikon are better)

    - Should I shoot RAW of JPEG? (each tell me that their way is better)

    - Should I process my shots on a Mac or a PC? (Mac people tell me that a Mac is better) (or do I really need to process my shots at all?)

    - Should I buy Photoshop - Lightroom - Photoshop Elements - or use GIMP? (I hear so many different viewpoints on this)

    - Oh - and should I use UV filter for protection?

    Looking forward to reading your answers



    Should i laugh now or wait till latter?

  10. #10

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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Should i laugh now or wait till latter?
    No idea what you mean Steve

  11. #11

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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    I ask because of recent and arduous research into the subject - resulting in the sale of two cameras, the purchase of another, purchase a Gretag-Macbeth mini-card, downloading of Adobe DNG applications and much brain-bashing in the areas of white balance, standard illuminants, light sources and the dreaded color spaces. As a retired guy, one has plenty of time but . . ouch!

    The conclusion was that improvement in color balance in the finished image obeys the law of diminishing returns versus the amount of workflow put in. In my line of photography (watch trading), much of that workflow is wasted effort and a simple WB with a gray card in-camera does the job most of the time!

    How about you?

    Ted
    Hi Ted,

    If you create a profile for a given camera / lens / lighting combination then it can be used for ever more whenever that combination is used. So if you've got a setup for photographing watches then all you need to do is tell ACR to use that profile (a couple of clicks) and you're "done".

    So really the best of both worlds IMHO.

  12. #12

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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    I'm smiling Colin
    Though it is sad you forgot to offer Paint Shop Pro as an alternative ... not that I am a fan of Corel but JASC were great.

  13. #13

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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    I'm smiling Colin
    Though it is sad you forgot to offer Paint Shop Pro as an alternative ... not that I am a fan of Corel but JASC were great.
    There you go

    Paint Shop Pro -- wow - seems like it's been about 150,000 years since I've played with that (Same with CoralDraw).

  14. #14
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Ted,

    If you create a profile for a given camera / lens / lighting combination then it can be used for ever more whenever that combination is used. So if you've got a setup for photographing watches then all you need to do is tell ACR to use that profile (a couple of clicks) and you're "done".

    So really the best of both worlds IMHO.
    Thanks Colin,

    By coincidence I had posted an article coming to similar conclusions before I read your post.

    http://kronometric.org/article/lampComp/mas.html

    Now I'm getting used to LED lighting:

    Color Balance - how picky are you?

    Straight out of the old D50, normal jpeg (i.e. not RAW), small image (1504x1000), resized and sharpened a smidge - destined for eBay so no color adjustments at all.

    best regards,

    Ted

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