Saturday, October 3, 2009

Custom White Balance Suggestions

As a landscape photographer you may never have thought about introducing a custom white balance to you’re workflow in the field, but you may wish to try this option after reading further. I’ve always known about the option of custom white balance in my cameras menu, however never gave it much thought. A fellow photographer who shoots primarily outdoor portraits opened my eyes to this option and made me take a second look at the technique.
Most photographers agree that white balance issues are quite correctable in post processing whether shooting RAW or JPEG. Correcting an entire photo is one thing but nailing the white balance in a specific area is quite another. For instance you may wish to have perfect white balance on foreground elements and let the rest of the photo take on characteristics from an unusual colorcast on water elements that add to the visual impact of the scene.
There are several tools that allow one to achieve perfect white balance read from surrounding light specific to a scene. From a simple Grey Card to a fitted white lens cover; one company makes a lens cap that will replace the factory cap and will provide perfect white balance. In my estimation the best tool on the market and not surprisingly the most expensive tool is the ExpoDisc made by Expo Imaging. It is the painstaking way that the ExpoDisc is constructed of high optical grade plastics that provide perfect neutrality and diffuse the light before it hits the image sensor. The results are stark and for me a game changer.

Using the ExpoDisc is quick and simple. Go into the custom menu of you’re DSLR and then into the custom white balance turn it on place the ExpoDisc on the front of you’re lens and depress the shutter release to set the white balance for that scene.

Other tools with great fanfare are the Lastolite Ezybalance collapsible grey and white panels. They are washable and stow easily and will double as a reflector or hood shade.
Also the “ Digital Calibration Targets “ From Photovision Products can be used on the back end providing a perfect white section, 18 % grey in the center for nailing exposure. A black section is also included on the same panel for you’re eyedropper tool in P/S to dial in a true black that may be lacking in you’re composition.

Just because you may not be a portrait photographer don’t be shy about using custom white balance tools for landscape and Macro work. Happy shooting Shawn…

Note: Photo provided by

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