If you have ever relied on your camera’s white balancing algorithms, you know how imperfect they can be, especially in incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, less than favorable lights. The solution is amazing simple, use an 18% gray to tune in your camera. The use of the 18% gray card works as a reference telling your camera “look, the neutral gray is over here!”
There is plenty examples of how to print this yourself, but have you considered if your printer in correctly adjusted. I use two different 18% gray reference; a fold out Lastolite EzBalance Calibration Card and a microfiber cloth 18% gray. One easy to pocket, and the other easy to use in my studio.
White Balance and RAW Mode
When shooting RAW, it is not terrible important with the white balance setting, after all you can set it afterwards in the post processing. Yet with live view is it nice to get the right colors right in the box. This is important while your perception of colors in an image is subjective to your brain, which will perceive them as normal, even when they are not. If you use your white balance correctly at all times, you will consistently produce better images. You will do less post-processing if the white balance is correct in the first place.
Using the white balance card.
It is not important that your camera is focusing when using the card; it is reading the color tone values, not actually taking a picture. Proximity, is important, make sure your lens is close enough to the card making sure it does not see anything else than the card. Generally, you need to be about 75 to 100 mm away from the card. Shadows is not your friend, we do not want lens shadows onto the card, while they will ruin the measurement making the outcome less accurate. Same goes with glares to avoid them, hold the card at a slight angle to the source light if the light is particularly bright and is causing glare. Lastolite cards features a white and a gray side. If shooting in dim conditions you want to use the white side, because that is reflecting 90% of the light, but make sure to check if your camera supports this. If you are shooting in normal light is the gray side best for color balancing.
On Sony A99V
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