Wednesday, June 6, 2012

White Balance: Trial and ERROR

Since getting my wonderful Canon T3i last Christmas, I have really been trying to teach myself how to use it properly.  There are some things about photography that I pick up pretty easily and there are others that take time (lots and lot of time).

White balance is one of those things that takes lots and lots of time.  I got my WhiBal card in the mail a  few days ago.  The $35 I paid for the card was not cheap, but I hope in time it will prove to be worth it.  When Cam was over a few days ago - I decided to test it out.  As I explain what I've learned, you'll find out why all of these photos are in black and white.

The instructions that I read said to take a photo with the card in the light you will be shooting in.  Cam was really helpful with that part.  That step seemed simple enough.  The directions then explained that you can use the white balance tool (for you Photoshop users: Layer>new adjustment layer> levels) to fix the white balance for all the pictures you took in that light.  Just grab the dropper, select the gray or white on the card and voila! Beautifully balance photos. EHH! Wrong answer!

Here's what I found out when I put these photos onto my computer - to correctly use this white balance card, you need to shoot in RAW (something that is still on my To-Learn list).  Since I never shoot in RAW, this card did not correctly white balance my photos (hence the b&w).

As far as I can understand, shooting in RAW gives you a greater ability to edit the photo when putting it in Photoshop.  I also know that the file is huge.  I have a 16gb card in my camera.  Along with a few photos I already have on there, I can take over 1800 more.  When shooting in RAW, I have room for 500 more.  Granted, 500 is a lot, but that doesn't leave a lot of extra room.

I can take 300 pictures in a day (when I am with my buddy, Cam) and I like the option to leave them on the camera for awhile before having to take them off.

I definitely plan on shooting in RAW and using my white balance card when I take nicer photos in the future.  It may not be an everyday occurrence for me, but it's definitely on the Experiment With This list.

Have you noticed that I have a lot of lists?  I love lists.  I love them so much I would marry them...but only if that's on the list.

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