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Help with white balance and composition for small concerts (4 images)
Well I posted this thread: http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=26547986 in the Nikon D80/D70/D50/D40 board, but that board is currently infiltrated by PMA threads, so maybe I can get more help here. All I really got from them was that my white balance is bad and so are the photos, which is not helpful..

The basic story is that this past weekend there was an A Capella night and an Open Mic both in the same little dining establishment at my college. I'm very shy and afraid of conflict, and so both nights I was worried about getting in people's way or bothering people with my flash, or being in the way of photographers who were assigned to be there..

The lighting for A Capella was constant, I think it was some yellow-ish white stage lights that didn't change. The stage lighting on the open mic night was constantly changing - red to blueish to yellow to red and back around again. The room was also much dimmer that night..

I know that I can set custom wb on my D40. I haven't tried it, but I know the manual will tell me how to do that. What I don't understand is how you can set WB for a situation like that. Re-do the preset every 5 minutes? Auto seemed to be a better idea than anything else, at the least. They probably did look red like that, but what would you do for this? I shot jpg, except for I did shoot one act in RAW but I converted them and didn't save the originals. I tried to see if anything would happen messing with them in ViewNX, but it didn't look any less red, so I gave up..

I used D40, mixture of 18-55 and 55-200VR, ISO 1600, and no flash. The VR lens seemed to come in handy for the low-light and fear of bothering people (performing or surrounding) with my flash. I tried to use spot metering to meter off like faces and light areas of the scenes..

I also would appreciate critique on composition, if possible. I was somewhat at a loss for how to compose, especially for the a Capella event..

Here are a few samples, EXIF embedded in all:.

A Capella, 18-55 lens.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Open Mic, 55-200 lens:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Rest of the A Capella gallery here (intermixed with other things): http://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i257/Jboschan/January%202008/24th/.

Rest of Open Mic gallery here: http://s74.photobucket.com/...boschan/January%202008/25th/skibo%20open%20mic/.

Feel free to look at the rest, though I understand if you don't..

Thanks in advance for helping me! I appreciate any feedback and information you can give me..

JamieD40, 18-55mm, 55-200mm VRhttp://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i257/Jboschan/..

Comments (7)

I wouldn't say your shots are bad. They aren't technically superior, but this is also a challenging situation. I agree that popping a flash off in this situation would be disruptive to those who came to enjoy the show... you made the right decision I'm sure..

I've been in a few low light event situations myself, and it's not easy. Your images show a bit of blur, whether through motion or noise reduction, and there's little you can do about that - but it's not that bad. At worst, they will make decent 4x6s..

As to your composition, you will no doubt get different feedback from others, but I don't practice cropping - so I don't have enough experience with cropping to make any recommendations there..

What I would do is fix the white balance and rotate the images a bit to level the stage - unless you are intentionally using a tilted perspective, in which case ignore my suggestion on that..

To fix white balance, I would actually recommend you just worry about the skin tones. I point you to this very helpful (for me at least) article on correcting skin tones numerically - http://www.smugmug.com/help/skin-tone..

With perserverence, you can make the kinds of skin tone corrections in the above article without converting to CMYK (and thus possibly messing up your colors). To do so, use the general rule of thumb:.

Red is complimentary to CyanGreen is complimentary to MagentaBlue is complimentary to Yellow.

In other words:.

- Increase red to decrease cyan- Increase green to decrease magenta- Increase blue to decrease yellow.

If you use photoshop, you can use the color sampling tool and set it up so that it reads off CMYK values even when you're in RGB mode. It'll save you tons of stress..

Alternatively, for more of a "quick fix" use whatever white balance/auto color tool exists in your favorite image editor. Sadly jpegs will degrade ever so slightly when adjusting color balance, but you will likely not notice provided you don't over-do the edits..

Next time you shoot an event like this, consider shooting in RAW mode so that you can play around with white balance in your raw converter after the fact. It won't save you any time, but should result in technically superior results..

I would also recommend a monopod, or, should circumstances prohibit that, a string-o-pod (http://www.metacafe.com/...1_image_stabilizer_for_any_camera_lose_the_tripod/)..

Good luck!.

~ Rylee Isitt..

Comment #1

Jboschan wrote:.

Well I posted this thread:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=26547986 in the Nikon D80/D70/D50/D40 board, but that board is currently infiltrated by PMA threads, so maybe I can get more help here. All I really got from them was that my white balance is bad and so are the photos, which is not helpful..

Hmmm. Let's see if we can do a bit better than that..

The basic story is that this past weekend there was an A Capellanight and an Open Mic both in the same little dining establishment atmy college. I'm very shy and afraid of conflict,.

BOO!.

(Please don't have a SoHF on me...).

And so both nights Iwas worried about getting in people's way or bothering people with myflash, or being in the way of photographers who were assigned to bethere..

It can be very difficult to judge these things. If you are going to photograph events you have to be confident and maybe even a bit brazen - but not to the point of irritating people. The more you do, the easier it will get..

The lighting for A Capella was constant, I think it was someyellow-ish white stage lights that didn't change..

It looks to me as though there were different coloured lights from different directions - look at the shadows on the white shirts. No white balance setting will fix that..

The stage lightingon the open mic night was constantly changing - red to blueish toyellow to red and back around again. The room was also much dimmerthat night..

I know that I can set custom wb on my D40. I haven't tried it, but Iknow the manual will tell me how to do that. What I don't understandis how you can set WB for a situation like that. Re-do the presetevery 5 minutes?.

No, but you don't need to if you shoot RAW. I'm not familiar with Nikon's software but Adobe Camera RAW (Photoshop's RAW converter) makes it pretty easy to alter white balance when processing - *much* easier and more satisfactory than trying to fix a JPEG. This is the sort of situation that makes RAW worth the extra bother..

[snip].

I also would appreciate critique on composition, if possible. I wassomewhat at a loss for how to compose, especially for the a Capellaevent..

They look like you were sitting in the audience and you just pointed the camera at the stage. Very dull. Closer and wider angle might have worked well. And the exact opposite - zoom in with a long lens, looking for interesting/attractive faces. But maybe it's just a not very interesting subject..

The open mic shots you posted in this thread are *much* better compositionally than the ones you posted on the Nikon forum...

Comment #2

Rylee Isitt wrote:.

I wouldn't say your shots are bad. They aren't technically superior,but this is also a challenging situation. I agree that popping aflash off in this situation would be disruptive to those who came toenjoy the show... you made the right decision I'm sure..

I've been in a few low light event situations myself, and it's noteasy. Your images show a bit of blur, whether through motion or noisereduction, and there's little you can do about that - but it's notthat bad. At worst, they will make decent 4x6s..

As to your composition, you will no doubt get different feedback fromothers, but I don't practice cropping - so I don't have enoughexperience with cropping to make any recommendations there..

What I would do is fix the white balance and rotate the images a bitto level the stage - unless you are intentionally using a tiltedperspective, in which case ignore my suggestion on that..

I have figured out how to straighten photos in picasa, but I am mostly trying to use photoshop cs2, and I have no idea how to do this in cs2. I tried the free-transform, but I think I ended up with like 2 layers one of which was weirdly overlapping the other or something..

To fix white balance, I would actually recommend you just worry aboutthe skin tones. I point you to this very helpful (for me at least)article on correcting skin tones numerically -http://www.smugmug.com/help/skin-tone..

With perserverence, you can make the kinds of skin tone correctionsin the above article without converting to CMYK (and thus possiblymessing up your colors). To do so, use the general rule of thumb:.

Red is complimentary to CyanGreen is complimentary to MagentaBlue is complimentary to Yellow.

In other words:.

- Increase red to decrease cyan- Increase green to decrease magenta- Increase blue to decrease yellow.

If you use photoshop, you can use the color sampling tool and set itup so that it reads off CMYK values even when you're in RGB mode.It'll save you tons of stress..

Alternatively, for more of a "quick fix" use whatever whitebalance/auto color tool exists in your favorite image editor. Sadlyjpegs will degrade ever so slightly when adjusting color balance, butyou will likely not notice provided you don't over-do the edits..

Thanks for this information, I will try to use it and see what happens..

Next time you shoot an event like this, consider shooting in RAW modeso that you can play around with white balance in your raw converterafter the fact. It won't save you any time, but should result intechnically superior results..

I will think about it, but I'm a little scared of the file size, and also will depend on the event. If the wb is that tricky, it didn't look like ViewNX had more wb choices than the camera did..

I would also recommend a monopod, or, should circumstances prohibitthat, a string-o-pod.

(http://www.metacafe.com/...1_image_stabilizer_for_any_camera_lose_the_tripod/)..

That string-o-pod is interesting, and has just been posted twice on the Nikon board, actually. I did buy a tripod, but I haven't used it yet. I didn't decide to photograph these events until I got there, so there was not much planning involved..

Good luck!.

~ Rylee Isitt.

Thank you for taking the time to help me.JamieD40, 18-55mm, 55-200mm VRhttp://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i257/Jboschan/..

Comment #3

Steve Balcombe wrote:.

Jboschan wrote:.

Well I posted this thread:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=26547986 in the Nikon D80/D70/D50/D40 board, but that board is currently infiltrated by PMA threads, so maybe I can get more help here. All I really got from them was that my white balance is bad and so are the photos, which is not helpful..

Hmmm. Let's see if we can do a bit better than that..

Thanks!.

The basic story is that this past weekend there was an A Capellanight and an Open Mic both in the same little dining establishment atmy college. I'm very shy and afraid of conflict,.

BOO!.

(Please don't have a SoHF on me...).

I have no idea what this is. Shy something Hissy Fit?.

And so both nights Iwas worried about getting in people's way or bothering people with myflash, or being in the way of photographers who were assigned to bethere..

It can be very difficult to judge these things. If you are going tophotograph events you have to be confident and maybe even a bitbrazen - but not to the point of irritating people. The more you do,the easier it will get..

The lighting for A Capella was constant, I think it was someyellow-ish white stage lights that didn't change..

It looks to me as though there were different coloured lights fromdifferent directions - look at the shadows on the white shirts. Nowhite balance setting will fix that..

I seem to have learned this just from those two events..

The stage lightingon the open mic night was constantly changing - red to blueish toyellow to red and back around again. The room was also much dimmerthat night..

I know that I can set custom wb on my D40. I haven't tried it, but Iknow the manual will tell me how to do that. What I don't understandis how you can set WB for a situation like that. Re-do the presetevery 5 minutes?.

No, but you don't need to if you shoot RAW. I'm not familiar withNikon's software but Adobe Camera RAW (Photoshop's RAW converter)makes it pretty easy to alter white balance when processing - *much*easier and more satisfactory than trying to fix a JPEG. This is thesort of situation that makes RAW worth the extra bother..

Well, the nice thing about the Nikon software is that it reads my camera settings in case I don't want to change them. However, the wb options didn't look way different from what was in my camera or "recorded value" and I don't know what can be done besides what is in the list..

I'm also a little scared of using RAW for file size - right now I only have a 2 gig card, which can get 500+ images before it's done and with raw I think it's about half that.I'm a student, so not much money lying around for more memory cards..

[snip].

I also would appreciate critique on composition, if possible. I wassomewhat at a loss for how to compose, especially for the a Capellaevent..

They look like you were sitting in the audience and you just pointedthe camera at the stage. Very dull. Closer and wider angle might haveworked well. And the exact opposite - zoom in with a long lens,looking for interesting/attractive faces. But maybe it's just a notvery interesting subject..

I was. For that event the good spots were taken when we arrived, and the two photographers that were assigned to be there - I'm guessing yearbook and school newspaper - had spots that I didn't want to interfere with. Both events were actually really crowded, but we arrived earlier for Open Mic so I had a decent view from my seat with the longer lens..

The open mic shots you posted in this thread are *much* bettercompositionally than the ones you posted on the Nikon forum..

Thanks, I will have to compare them later and see what the differences are.JamieD40, 18-55mm, 55-200mm VRhttp://s74.photobucket.com/albums/i257/Jboschan/..

Comment #4

Jboschan wrote:.

Steve Balcombe wrote:.

Jboschan wrote:.

The basic story is that this past weekend there was an A Capellanight and an Open Mic both in the same little dining establishment atmy college. I'm very shy and afraid of conflict,.

BOO!.

(Please don't have a SoHF on me...).

I have no idea what this is. Shy something Hissy Fit?.

Sense of Humour Failure! ..

Comment #5

Jboschan wrote:.

Rylee Isitt wrote:.

... rotate the images a bitto level the stage - unless you are intentionally using a tiltedperspective, in which case ignore my suggestion on that..

I have figured out how to straighten photos in picasa, but I ammostly trying to use photoshop cs2, and I have no idea how to do thisin cs2. I tried the free-transform, but I think I ended up with like2 layers one of which was weirdly overlapping the other or something..

I have CS not CS2, but the process should be very similar. Use the Measure tool (probably hidden under the Eyedropper tool) to mark a line which you want to make vertical. Then choose Image ~ Rotate Canvas ~ Arbitrary and the necessary value will already be in place because you have used the Measure tool..

Note that I said vertical. It is a feature of the way perspective works that 'horizontal' lines don't always appear horizontal, but if your camera wasn't pointing upwards or downwards then vertical lines remain vertical. If the camera was pointing upwards, verticals in the middle of the frame remain vertical. It's not impossible to use horizontals, but you need an eye for where the horizontals are and that comes with experience...

Comment #6

Yup, that's probably the best way to straighten lines. Once done, you'll have to crop the edges off a bit..

Depending on your shots, this might cause problems. In group shots with people near to the edges of the frame, you're might be cropping people out as a result of rotation. This is one very good reason to make sure you are level before taking the photo. You can usually do this by lining horizontal/vertical lines up with the edges of the viewfinder or with the focus points and eyeballing it as best as you can..

~ Rylee Isitt..

Comment #7

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