5 color photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to fix them)

5 color photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to avoid them)

Color Photography Mistake No. 3: Mixed lighting

White balance in mixed lighting: sun

Daylight white balance setting

The problem with mixed lighting is that the color of the light may change across the scene and this can’t be addressed by a single white balance setting.

For example, if you use the Daylight setting in a room that is lit by natural light from a window and a tungsten bulb from a lamp near the centre of the room you will see a progression from neutral colors to orange.

If you switch to the Tungsten setting however, there will a transition from neutral to blue.

White balance in mixed lighting: shade

Shade white balance setting

The important thing is to get the white balance right for the main subject. If you are photographing a vase of flowers on the window sill the dominant light source is the sun – daylight.

However, an object on the table that holds the lamp will be predominantly lit by artificial light.

If the object is in the between the two light sources the best option is to set a custom white balance value.

If the idea of setting a custom white balance is alarming, don’t worry it’s much easier than it sounds.

In most cases it’s simply a question of photographing a white or grey object (a photographic grey card is ideal) and instructing the camera to use the data gathered from this image to set the white balance value.

In some cases you may need to set the camera to its custom white balance measurement, setting or calibration mode before you take the image of the white/grey object, but sometimes you can do it afterwards and select the image that you want to use.

Check your camera’s instruction manual for details of the procedure.

When you’re taking the calibration shot think about the angle that the white balance target (the white or grey card) is to the light sources and how this compares with the subject.

If the card is tipped downwards for example it will not receive much light from above and this will have an impact upon the white balance that is set.

Once you have set the custom white balance value you can use it for as long as you shoot in that lighting condition.

If the light changes, or you shoot somewhere else, you’ll need to reset the white balance.

PAGE 1 – Color Photography Mistake No. 1: In correct white balance set
PAGE 2 – Color Photography Mistake No. 2: Image has no atmosphere
PAGE 3 – Color Photography Mistake No. 3: Mixed lighting
PAGE 4 – Color Photography Mistake No. 4: colors don’t suit the scene
PAGE 5 – Color Photography Mistake No. 5: colors washed out


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