Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Photography and White Balance

I think learning about white balance is one of the most important things you can do if you want to photo your own jewelry. There are many others of course

spot metering
marcro setting
light tent

But learning to set your white balance will help you to avoid that blueish, pinkish or yellowish cast that comes from a wrong white balance setting.

The important concept is to set your white balance to match your light source. I happen to have fluorescent photo bulbs in my photo light fixtures. I set my piece inside a portable fabric light tent on a gradated white to grey photo background and set my white balance to fluorescent.

I have a Sony Cyber Shot I usually use for my jewelry, but for the purposes of the blog I also have an inexpensive Canon powershot. Even on this camera I can easily set white balance, and I've done it here to show you the result.

You'll want to put the camera into manual mode. There is usually a function or menu button which will give you a digital screen on which to change settings.

Typical white balance settings are automatic, sun, cloud, incandescent light, fluorescent light and evaluative (you aim the camera at your environment and click the shutter).

Remembering that I actually have fluorescence's in my setting, I give you the results in order.

Automatic - not terrible

Sun - a little pinkish

Cloud - not so good

Incandescent - truly horrible

Fluorescent - the best result

Evaluative - a litle yellowish

I think you can see that when the white balance matches my light source, in this case fluorescent, I get the the truest color and most pleasing background. When I chose incandescent, that gave the worst result with a blueish cast to the background.

Both my composition and exposure could be improved here, but for the purpose of the white balance lesson, I think they tell the story.

Now off to clean the studio once again for a new session of kitting.....See you all tomorrow for a love story!


Pamela said...

Great post Marcia!

And the piece is pretty awesome too!

Lorelei Eurto said...

This was really super informative. I am so excited to have learned the basics about white balance. Thanks Marcia!!

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

Were you answering my plea, or just on the same page?! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Your specific advice on my piece would be very welcome!

btw - love your piece!

Arlenesfelt said...

So helpful Marcia, thanks for the info

Bead-Mused said...

Thanks, Marcia! I'll have to play with my camera a little more now. I'll have pictures on the blog tomorrow!

VanBeads said...

Isn't that funny that I just read this post tonight. I just invested a small amount of money in a tabletop photo studio, complete with a lightbox with three fabric backgrounds, two professional-quality lights and a mini tripod. It was worth it. I snapped a few shots with the lights set up, and voila! No more Photoshopping to correct the light balance in my photos!

Thanks for sharing with us!