Most of the professional photographers make sure, white’s stay white. Often we are challenged with tricky lighting conditions which make deciding on a white balance difficult. JPEG shooters are more vulnerable since the scope for colour correction is limited in post-production.
However, even if you’re a RAW shooter it is important to get WB close to perfect right in the camera. A bride on her wedding day looking resplendent in her saree would be disappointed if you supply her with photographs wherein her saree colour is way off. It happens quite a lot in wedding photography, purples turn into blue. Since the amateur photographer is lost in other aspects(composition, lighting etc) of the photograph, it(WB) gets easily hood-winked. However, the bride and her family are the first to spot the mistake. In rare cases, they might not complain but you are sure to lose the client for a future photo assignment.
In order to avoid such an unpleasant scenario, one should be careful about the WB during shooting. Often WB is a subjective topic. Some like their pictures to be warmer whereas others opt for the most neutral colours. I fall in the latter category. I do tweak the WB to one other than the prefect when I feel the need for it. Often I proceed with setting the camera’s white balance to a ‘preset’ closer to the lighting condition I am shooting in. When I shoot under mixed lighting conditions, I make sure to get a “Grey Card” reading from my subject. Of-course, I always shoot in RAW. Combination of these two methods give me a head-start when I have the photographs over the computer post shoot. Most often, the WB is spot on or close enough. The little adjustment(if required) is easily handled in post-production.
Its a human tendency to lust on luxurious things. Photographers are no different species. Their wish-list is often filled with high end camera bodies & further high end fast glass. If you happen to go through it, you’ll find most of lenses having a fast aperture of f/2.8, 1.8, 1.4 or even 1.2.
The thing is, they believe owning these fast lenses will make their job easier. They will be able to shoot in lower light, get more creamier backgrounds & come close to making photographs like their role model photographer. However, there is also another aspect to this thinking. No doubt, one will get benefit of shooting at lower ISO’s with these fast lenses or getting creamier backgrounds. But has anyone given a thought to the shallows DOF’s provided by these fast lenses?
The shallow DOF commands the photographer to be very perfect in his shooting technique. Since the DOF is very shallow(and get even shallower at telephoto ranges), a photographer must be adept at his focusing technique. A small lapse in focusing and the picture will go straight into the Trash Bin. Here amateur photographers are better off with consumer grade lenses which offer medium apertures & conceal any mistake of the photographers when it comes to focusing. Also not to forget professional lenses like 70-200mm f/2.8 weigh a lot & if you’re not build like a tank, you’re going to get fatigued which will ultimately result in shaken pictures. In worst cases, you may prefer to keep such lenses at home & shoot with your normal consumer lenses which defeat your original purpose of getting a fast lens.
So as you see, its not that simple. Before you go out to buy those fast professional lenses, take a quick look at your capability. Ask yourself – How accurately you focus? How often you need to shoot Wide open? Do you really need the f/1.4 or a f/2.8 or f/4 lens will suffice? Its a case of, “With Great Power comes even Greater Responsibility”. Its better to hone your basic camera skills with your consumer lenses for a year or two before you take the path of getting fast professional lenses. This does not only applies to lenses but to any high-end photography gear. Any high-end photography gear might make your job simpler but will also magnify any of your shortcomings. So first measure your photographic capability before splurging.
In the first part, I told you how to make a 18% Grey Card for yourself. Now, its time you pull out that grey card as I’ll teach you how to set ‘Custom White Balance’ while shooting in your Canon EOS DSLR. No need to worry, its fairly simple.
IMP - Shoot Grey Card in the SAME LIGHT
Canon has finally announced its much awaited new full frame flagship camera. Meet the new Canon EOS 1D-X.