Is White Balance Important in Digital Photography?

Camera owners often ask about ‘White Balance’ and the part it plays in digital photography. Is it important and can they perhaps use it to improve their photography.

Well, the colour of the light reflected from an object varies with the colour of the light source. The brain adapts to all these changes so that white objects appear as white objects whether seen in the shade, direct sunlight or under incandescent lights. Unlike film cameras, digital cameras can mimic this adjustment by processing images according to the colour of the light source.

With ‘automatic’ white balance the camera identifies the brightest element in the picture, assumes this is white and then adjusts or balances all the colours in the picture based on this.

Most of us just leave the White Balance setting on ‘automatic’ and the camera does a pretty good job of estimating the correct setting and we are generally happy with the results.

However, if we really want to improve our photography and add our own individual touches to our images it is really well worth experimenting with the various white balance settings available on your camera – AWB (automatic) Cloudy, Daylight (Bright Sun) Shade, Tungsten etc – and seeing the difference they can make to your pictures. Remember, you know what the prevailing light is. Your camera can only guess!

If you experiment with these, you will soon be able to see how to make the best use of them to help your photography. For example, if you use the ‘cloudy’ setting, even when it is not cloudy, it will have the effect of ‘warming up’ the picture – great for sunsets! The automatic setting may well remove most of that wonderful glow you wanted to capture.

The wonder of Digital Photography is that you can experiment freely at no cost – play around and experiment with your camera to your heart’s content – the more familiar you become the better you will get at taking pictures that actually reflect what you have seen and which are not just ‘postcard clones’ as it were!

Continual experimentation is one of the key secrets of digital photography. It can take people some time to get out of the habits of film photography where it cost money each time you pressed the shutter button! Once again – time spent reading the instruction manual for your camera will pay serious dividends in helping you to really enjoy your photography!

The Author:
Roger Lee runs a very popular one day course on Enjoying Your Camera with Creative Photography – over 700 people have enjoyed this course.
He has used this experience to produce the course in E Book format – ‘for people who don’t want to drown in detail – they just want to know how to enjoy their cameras’.

What a Photographer Should Not Miss in a Wedding

A Wedding is the most important day for any couple. That is the day when two people become one and look forward to living their whole life together. Sometimes couples spend years and all their life savings planning for this big day so we can understand how critical it is to get everything right on this occasion.

An essential part of any wedding is photography. Some weddings also have videography but even though you might find a wedding with just a photographer, you will rarely find one with just a videographer. It is imperative that the photographer hired to document this holy union understands the responsibility of their job.

Marriage is not just a union of two people but also two families. Even though the stars of the wedding day are the couple, what makes a wedding memorable is the presence of friends and family. As a wedding photographer, you might think all your shots should be of the couple but you risk missing some great moments of other people.

Yes, by all means get a lot of shots of the couple. Do their portraits, candids, etc but if you have a second shooter, tell him/her to keep an eye out on the guests and take photos of them too. A second shooter might be duplicating the same shots that you are taking and there is a reason second shooters do that. They want to use these shots in their portfolio and the only money shots according to them are of the couple so it is up to you to tell them firmly what you want.

Few years down the line or even a few decades later, when the couple, their children or grand children look at the wedding photos, they will not be thrilled to see five hundred photos of just the bride and groom in five hundred different poses but what will bring lot of smiles and a lot more of happiness is to see photos of their friends and family who all came together for that day. Those kind of memories are priceless. Would a couple rather just show their children or grand children just those amazing shots of them or would they want to talk and show their friends and family who might not be around anymore and who were not part of the group family shots? I am not saying that beautiful portraits and moments of the couple are not important, they definitely are but at the same time, don’t lose sight of other people in the wedding. When I am photographing a ceremony or a dance, I tell my second shooter to once in a while turn around towards the crowd and shoot the reactions, while I take care of the ceremony. You will be surprised with what you will get. Some priceless emotions.

Tips For Editing Camera Raw Files In Adobe Lightroom

Using raw image files

Raw images carry unprocessed details that can be further developed into a great photograph. The regular jpeg images that you click using a camera is automatically enhanced depending on the maker of the camera. The raw images are untouched by the automated settings of a camera.

The camera raw file format changes with the brand and model number of the camera. The commonly used camera raw format is the Digital Negative or DNG format.

Lightroom supports import of different types of raw files. The iOS version of Lightroom also offers editing of certain raw images which can be opened in the desktop version for further enhancements.

12 Tips to develop your raw images beautifully

Import your raw image in the Lightroom workspace and follow these tips as per the required results:

1. Adding white balance

When you click on white balance option, there is a pop-up list of white balance options such as daylight, cloudy, tungsten and more. You can use one of the options to fix the white balance of your raw image or try better options from the list.

2. Color and Tone Correction

Adjust the color balance in photographs. Clarity, vibrance, hue, saturation, tone curve etc. are some of the Lightroom options to correct the color and tone of the images. The vibrance slider is used to control saturation but it does not oversaturate skin colors.

3. Correct the exposure

The raw image may be overexposed or underexposed. Use the exposure slider to increase or decrease the exposure values.

4. Enhance the details

Use the fill tool to bring back the missing detail in the image which is present in the raw file.

The amount of brightness captured by the raw image is much more than a regular jpeg image. Adjust the values in the highlights slider to recover the details from a raw image in Lightroom.

5. Vignette effect

Lightroom has a post crop vignetting feature which can be used to add effects to a cropped image.

If you have a lot of highlights in your image then choose the Highlight Priority effect. Choose the Color Priority effect to preserve color hues in your raw image. Select the Paint Overlay option to blend black and white colors with original colors of your raw image.

6. Grain effect

Add a film grain style to your raw images to create grain effect. For revealing a part of the image, add the grain effect to rest of the image area with a higher value as grain amount. You can control the size, amount, and roughness of the grain. For a blurred image, increase the size of the grain particle to more than 25%.

7. Dehaze effect

There are times when weather conditions can lead to a hazy image with smoke or fog. To fix the haziness or adjust it, use the dehaze effect. Once you have made the required changes to the photograph by adjusting the color, brightness etc., go and select the “Dehaze” options in the effects panel.

8. Radial Filter

To focus on people or objects in an image, you can use the radial filter. After you select the radial filter from the toolbar, you need to select an area of focus. The filter gives you the choice to apply the modification inside or outside the circle drawn by you.

While working on projects for photo retouching services, you can add more radial filters on the images to bring multiple objects into focus.

9. Paint with the Adjustment brush

Lightroom gives you the freedom to paint the local adjustments such as brightness, tint, saturation, clarity and more. This alternative lets you paint adjustments in parts of the images as per your choice.

Similar results can be achieved with the Graduated Filter tool.