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Thread: White Balance in the RAW format

  1. #1
    Digital's Avatar
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    White Balance in the RAW format

    When shooting RAW do you set your WB prior to the shoot or after in PP, or is this question a moot point.
    Bruce

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Technically, it's moot: for RAW, there is no such thing as a white balance (WB) adjustment, as it stores the raw sensor data (more or less...)
    In practice, I find it more comfortable to select a decent WB prior to shooting:
    - it gets me a better starting point for PP, and
    - the previews look a lot better with a correct WB.

    Those previews are jpegs, created from the raw data according to the camera settings and embedded in the RAW file.
    Most settings do not have any effect on the RAW file, except for F-stop, exposure time, ISO and exposure correction.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    I would agree with Remco.

    I have WB set to Auto on the camera and never then think about it until post-processing the RAW files. I use a WhiBal card at the beginning of every shooting session (and throughout if the light changes in any significant way, which is not often the case with what I do).

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    I mostly set the white balance in the camera before shooting, as it influences the histogram and highlight blinkies, which are valuable tools for evaluating exposure. Never at any occasion would I use auto white balance, as it has been proven so-so in most cameras and would be an unreliable starting point.

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    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I would agree with Remco.

    I have WB set to Auto on the camera and never then think about it until post-processing the RAW files. I use a WhiBal card at the beginning of every shooting session (and throughout if the light changes in any significant way, which is not often the case with what I do).
    Donald, can you use WhiBal with Lightroom 4? Thanks, Bruce

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    Donald, can you use WhiBal with Lightroom 4? Thanks, Bruce
    I don't use Lightroom, but know that you definitely will be. It's a case of clicking on the card for WB in the shot you've taken that includes the card and then applying that setting to the rest of the images in that shoot.

    I just don't know how to do it with Lightroom.

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    I shoot both jpeg and raw most of the time and generally use auto white balance (for the jpegs, not the Raw). While I agree that AWB was not great in older models the most recent generation seems to work extremely well. I do play with it especially in tungsten and fluorescent situations and will play with the other settings. I do carry a Munsell colour target in my camera bag; I generally only use it when I shoot indoors using flash.

    I'm not a commercial product photographer, so I don't need to get the exact Pantone colour of a product package right for a customer. I generally find that for skin tones I tend to like going a touch warmer than what the 100% correct colour would be as well, and for landscape and cityscape shots, I prefer doing this by eye to give me the effect I am looking for.

    I guess coming from the film days when one shot only daylight or tungsten film, I tend to be a little less critical on getting the colour temperature "perfect" and prefer what looks good versus what is technically right. If I don't like the jpeg (which works for me probably 90%+), I can always fall back on the Raw image and work that until I get something I like.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 2nd February 2013 at 03:16 PM.

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Bruce I am much in agreement with Urban. Shooting RAW or JPEG I prefer to get the WB as close as possible to what I see in front of me while shooting. If the image you capture has a completely out of balance tone, where do you start in PP to adjust WB?
    Still I think it is a personal choice.
    Nikon makes me think why one of the important buttons on the camera is actually a WB button. Nikon listens to Pro's as to what they want and why they want it. Your choice if you are going to use it or not.

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Bruce I shoot in raw and have WB set to auto. Occasionally I might have to adjust WB pp but not very often. Some cameras may handle the auto adjustment better than others.

    Dave

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    If the image you capture has a completely out of balance tone, where do you start in PP to adjust WB?
    By selecting "auto" in the PP software. Usually followed by using the white balance tool on a spectrally neutral object in the scene.

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    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I would agree with Remco.

    I have WB set to Auto on the camera and never then think about it until post-processing the RAW files. I use a WhiBal card at the beginning of every shooting session (and throughout if the light changes in any significant way, which is not often the case with what I do).
    Donald, I purchased the WhiBal card today. I believe that this will help in my PP of WB. Thanks for the information. Bruce

  12. #12

    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I don't use Lightroom, but know that you definitely will be. It's a case of clicking on the card for WB in the shot you've taken that includes the card and then applying that setting to the rest of the images in that shoot.

    I just don't know how to do it with Lightroom.
    Lightroom is the same as whichever PP software you are currently using. It has a WB dropper and you just click on the WB card in the first image, then just use the LR sync command to sync that white balance across all the images.

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    i shoot in raw and i do like to set the WB before shooting itself. It works for me anyway. and due to the fact tat i shoot in raw , i do have the option of experimenting again with other WB by changing the temperature sliders in lightroom during post production.

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    I shoot JPEG and mostly use Auto WB on the Nikon. It is quite trusty. In difficult light I set the WB by hand, using a white card.
    To adjust the WB in PP I use black or white point adjustment mostly, that works well.

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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    I purchased on on Donald's advice also...

    Donald, have you thought about getting the WhiBal Franchise for Scotland?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I purchased on on Donald's advice also...

    Donald, have you thought about getting the WhiBal Franchise for Scotland?
    I should be getting commission!

  17. #17
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    Re: White Balance in the RAW format

    Having a good WB is important when shooting Jpeg, since adjusting it in PP is more delicate in this case.
    RAW do not have a WB, and this can be easily set in PP. Yet having a decent WB when shooting RAW is useful, for the reasons already stated.

    I shot mostly RAW. With my D300 I use preferably the daylight setting, with the D800 I find that the Auto setting works reasonably well. When I have to take a series of pictures with artificial light in a similar situations what I usually do is to switch to a fix setting, e.g. Daylight or given a temperature, to have a reasonably WB (evaluated from the camera monitor) and fine tuning it later for the whole group in PP using a reference shot.

    Andrea

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