|(left) Original photo from camera with Tungsten white balance, (right) Final edited photo
I'll spend a few posts describing what I did to edit this photo (from Amateur Lindy Finals) and my goals in composition. Then I'll apply the same ideas to a couple other photos. Then I'll wrap it up discussing my overall process.
Above is a (slightly contrived) before and after comparison of one of the photos from that set (this one was from the Amateur Lindy Finals on Saturday).
I use Adobe Lightroom to organize and edit. For the rest of this entry,
Color Temperature and TintI always shoot in RAW anyway, but it is especially important when making big adjustments with color temperature. One of the first things I do is choose a color balance (temperature and tint) for the overall look of the photo, mostly looking at the background.
Color temperature is recorded as metadata suggesting how to interpret the RAW color data, but in LR, I can choose to interpret it differently. JPG will bake in that interpretation and you will lose a lot of flexibility.
|Color Temperature Presets in Lightroom
- Light from a flash is typically very cool (blue), so the raw data will have blue blasted out much more than the reds and greens. When we observe it in person, our eyes adjust and make objects we think are white look white. But the camera (or LR) needs to weight the red and green more and the blue less.
- Similarly, for Tungsten, the light will be warmer, so there will be more yellow, adding red and green to everything, and not so much blue. To compensate, LR may boost the blue and/or take down the red and green.
- Florescent is often a little green, so I think it's boosting the red.
- My "As Shot" is a very low temperature, which I think is interpreted as going toward red maybe boosting the greens and blues.
- no flash
- primary/dominant lights were overhead chandeliers with large diffuse panels. The panels were somewhat yellowed.
- Sometimes, there were LED spots coming from above the bandstand that were on a chaser, so they would change every few seconds. (more on that in Part 2) These mostly showed as a rim.
"Tungsten" may look accurate, but I might not want accurate. Even when I was there, I thought, "This is a yellow, yellow room." That's not how I wanted to remember it. Also, it's hard to use any color for emphasis because it's all a little yellow. The "As Shot" image still looks a little green, but I'll explain how I got there.
|Searching for the White Balance using Auto White Balance (upper left)
and eye dropper tool (upper right and lower row)
One tool is setting it to "Auto" and LR will try to guess the dominant light color. But in this case(upper left), I think it was still too warm - still close to Tungsten.
Another is the White Balance Eye Dropper tool. Use that to click on a point in the image that is supposed to be white, and LR will find the temperature/tint combination that will make it so. Here, I show the results of a few candidates that had subtle differences with how much in shadow they were and what they were really getting lit by.
|Temp 2500, Tint 12
Here, I landed on to 12.(though not the final number for this image)
|Temp 2500, Tint 12, Saturation -20
In fact, I like to reduce it with -20.
Quick note on Exposure
|All that and Exposure +0.5 too.
The point being that I know that I could shoot to get the right exposure in-camera, but with the ability to edit the raw image in LR, it wasn't worth compromising the other settings.
Increasing the exposure with 0.5 seems to work well overall for the set, so I used that for a preset, and as it turns out, that's what I kept for this image.
|Settings from my Lightroom preset
Temp 2500, Tint 12, Saturation -20, Exposure +0.5I also set the Luminance smoothing to 40 down in the Noise Reduction section, but that's not really relevant to the discussion.
Though it took a couple years of experimenting to land on this as a preset, sliding the knobs around to try to find something that works only takes a minute or two. And once I chose it as a preset, I can have LR apply the preset on import, so I effectively get up to this point for free.
Coming UpThat's a long story of how I came up with the preset I used for my Camp Hollywood 2014 photos. Well, most of the story anyway. There's one more factor that I'll discuss in my next post, but it wasn't a big factor in processing this particular photo, and there are better examples to use to discuss it.
Also, you can see that the last photo in the Exposure section doesn't match the Final at the top of the page. After the brief detour, I'll come back to this photo and discuss more of the editing process.
* I'll discuss the settings as I see them in LR. (The presets like "Tungsten" in-camera are close enough to call it the same)