Thursday, 30 June 2011

White Balance

In an ideal world you would always shoot you images as RAW files. My next blog will explain why but in the meantime if you are still shooting jpeg it is VITAL that you get your white balance right every time you press the button.

You camera will have an AUTO white balance function which I would advise you never use except in the direst of emergencies, where you simply don't have time to change settings for fear of losing the shot. Auto settings only work perfectly in a 'perfect' situation where you have an absolutely 'average' subject. Even lighting, even tones, even colours etc. These conditions only exist in a laboratory, not in the real world.

The camera will also have a number of preset white balance options to accomodate bright sunshine, cloudy days, artificial lighting, flash etc . These are all approximates and can't be anything else. Light can be at any point on a long sliding scale of colour temperature and these presets are once again a compromise.

The only way to be sure of pictures with neutral greys, clean highlights and colour cast free shadows is to use your CUSTOM WB function. It's really easy. Follow the instructions specific to your camera and take a reading from a piece of white card in the same light as that falling on your subject every single time you take a picture. Faffy ? yes, worth it ? definitely.

A more costly but far more convenient and even more accurate method is to use a specifically calibrated device called an EXPODISC, cost around a hundred quid but is invaluable to the serious operator, have a look at it  
http://www.expoimaging.com/product-overview.php?cat_id=1&keywords=ExpoDisc

Happy snapping !

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Famous Clients ( well almost )

I've had John Wayne AND Lana Turner in my studio this week, at the same time!.

You'll be greatly relieved to hear that they weren't here in person, both being long deceased but a client brought in some photographs of them to be copied. Not just any old photographs but ones that he actually took himself whilst they were filming in the far east and he was stationed there.

The photos are not remarkable in any way but my client was able to confirm that a) Lana Turner was indeed as beautiful and gracious as the studio publicity always said she was and b) John Wayne was indeed capable of consuming VAST amounts of alcohol with no apparent effect on his ability to function normally.

Hopefully I'll be posting in the next few days with my views on the importance of white balance and why you should NEVER shoot  anything other than Raw files. Shooting on jpeg may seem to work most of the time but one day it will all end in tears and you'll lose that once in a lifetime shot because using Raw seemed too time consuming or complicated. It IS both of these things but it's worth it. Watch this space... ( I do like a well used ellipsis ).

Shame on all of you who didn't recognise the lyrics ' Time flies etc'
The answer, The light pours out of me by Magazine

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Self Promotion

Been a really busy couple of weeks, what with it being the Wedding season and everything, so no deep thoughts or fancy philosophies today, just a little self promotion.

If you live locally pop out and get yourself a copy of tonights ( Sat June 4th ) Lancashire Telegraph and if you look on page 26 there's a chance to win a fabulous free portrait from our Studio. There's still a week left before entries close so don't delay !

Back soon with more abstract and tangential thoughts