Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mixed lighting and White Balance

Shooting outdoor concerts is fun but the tricky part is still the lighting. Sometimes the mixed lighting is just what you need to nail the atmosphere of the concert but this plays havoc on the WB settings on your camera. For one, taking a custom reading with a white piece of paper in front of you would seem like the best idea but this is not possible as each scene or session at a concert is punctuated with different types of lighting to highlight the stage. Its sort of like setting up the WB for one moment and out it goes within the next. So what do you do? Well, fixing it on Tungsten or Halogen setting would probably suffice. The rest is a hit or miss affair. Automatic WB will give you very weird results. Trust me, I have done this.

Notice the weird lighting on his head?

Mixed lighting on stage These were all shot using the Lumix G1. For most of the time, focusing in lighting like this was made possible as the EVF made it much easier for you to see and judge the sharpness of the subject. The EP-1 was more difficult to use in such lighting as the LCD didn’t have the chops to deliver what you need to properly focus on set. The lighting also affects the sensor's ability to render the image you see on your LCD or viewfinder.

Sometimes, to get the shot you want, you probably need to do some post production work such as changing the color tones to get a decent pix. The picture here is a good example of WB being messed up during the shoot. By converting it to Sepia or B/W, there was still some hope in salvaging the image destined for the bin.

Same pix, given the b/w contrast boost

There is no sure fire way to get the shot you want and still get the color you want at the same time, the image below is another example of how lighting can mess up the colors. Notice that the rear and you’d see a purple fringe, ontop as well. Sometimes by setting the playback review of all your shots does help you notice these inconsistencies. For this, you can wait for the lighting to change once again, the stage lights that is, or fire at will and use the RAW files to adjust your WB settings once you are done. Color also shows up as Chroma noise and Luminance noise, these are inherent in the camera sensors' ability or rather inability to cope with low light situations. Again, converting your images to b/w would save it as you can boost the contrast to remove this. Regardless, much of these tips will should only be used if you feel that the WB has gone off during the concert shoot. I have a lot of other examples of these conversions done in my photo gallery. 


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