Chart: The Look of Film Photography Explained in Terms of White Balance

How many of you can tell the difference between daylight white balance and shade or Tungsten?

When you think of daylight white balance, we’re positive that many of you have a tough time figuring it out. You’re probably shooting in auto white balance. And if you had to take an educated guess, you’d think that it would be a warm-toned balance. Daylight is indeed warmer than Tungsten, at least in terms of white balance. And the way that it works is that the two try to cancel each other out. Tungsten lights are pretty warm, so the white balance has to be very cool. Daylight is very cool, so the white balance needs to be warm. However, folks like their images to be even warmer. If this is all sounding confusing to you, then please check out our infographic below.

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Three Great Features of Your Camera You’re Not Using

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Ask yourself: have you ever felt so good about an image that it didn’t need post-production? Trust me, there’s no better feeling. In the past few years, I’ve given in. I’ve become so sick of staring at a camera screen to then stare at a computer screen. It’s superfluous. We should be able to get great photos in camera without post-production. It’s surely possible. Think about the way you edit. You most likely add contrast, adjust exposure, white balance, clarity, etc. You’re most likely making basic adjustments. But, you also may be messing around, not knowing what you want, and being happy when you find something. That’s fine.

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Spend Your Money on Better Things. Sony HVL-F46RM Flash Review

Oof! Sony, what did you do? The world’s most innovative photography company made two flashes. Also being announced today is the Sony HVL-F60RM 2. Both flashes aren’t anything very special. Their biggest updates are the metering with skin tones, the ambient white balance, and build quality at the hot shoe foot. But otherwise, Sony shows that they’re really not trying very hard. Plus, the new Sony HVL-F46RM flash is $399.99. Dive in, and you’ll see why we think there are better options out there.

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Do You Still Hate Cameras with Electronic Viewfinders? Try This

We’re streaming daily on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherPocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.

There are still photographers who hate electronic viewfinders (EVFs). They just can’t get used to them. But sometimes, I think that it’s part of just not adapting and embracing what’s possible. I myself love electronic viewfinders. They’ve revolutionized how much easier it’s become for someone legally blind (me) to use a camera. But at the same time, I keep them functioning like optical viewfinders. Technologically, they’re superior to optical viewfinders. They’re also better if you understand them. So I’m going to help some folks understand electronic viewfinders better.

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How to Photograph Black Skin and Other Dark Skin Like Mine

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This post is motivated by watching a YouTuber with a Mamiya RB67 photograph folks with darker skin like mine. But nothing was done about the all-natural lighting. And as a result, there were no details in the person being photographed at all. It’s made me realize that there’s a stark lack of representation in models within photo instructionals. That shoot was done with a very digital workflow that relies on fixing it all in post-production. The problem could’ve been solved easily. Look, I’ve long believed the theory that color film and photography were developed for folks with lighter skin. I’ve done my own research into the matter myself for years now. And here’s what I’ve learned after photographing so many different types of models with a different skin. This is a quick, surface-level introduction to how to photograph black skin and dark skin like mine.

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3 Fantastic Cameras with Image Quality That Looks Like Film

If you want the film look, you’re going to love these cameras.

There is nothing like the look of film. Some people think they know what it looks like using editing presets, but you’re better off doing it in the camera. Luckily, a few companies have begun to recognize this and built those looks right into their cameras. We dove into our Reviews Index to find some of the most unique and highest quality choices. There are more that can give you the look of film, but here are some of our favorites and the best we’ve tested.

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A Simple Camera Trick Can Get You the Blade Runner Look You Love

If you’re looking for the Blade Runner look, it’s all about tweaking a simple camera setting.

Of course, it depends on what generation you belong to, but the Blade Runner look is still something often copied. Folks love it! And we too admit it’s entertaining. There are two variations of the look. Arguably, the older and more classic look has defined lots of fantasy. You can surely do it all in post-production, but you’ll spend a lot less time at a computer editing if you just understand how it works in the first place.

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How to Shoot Better Photos in Cities at Night (And Some Street Tips)

Cities are some of the best places to shoot photos at night, and here’s an infographic giving you a few tips you’ve never heard.

I think that every photographer somehow or another loves to photograph cities at night. They become magical places that suddenly come alive and have specific lighting set so carefully. And they’re gorgeous. The contrast that city lights create draws people in from all across the world. Take Times Square: though it is the bane of every NYer’s existence, people stand and stare in wonder at all that’s around them. One could say the same about many a Rambla in Barcelona. Walk though the streets of Bangkok at night and you’ll see the city come alive like no other.

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Make Your Own Golden Hour By Mastering This One Setting

Photographing during golden hour can produce stunning results, but Mother Nature isn’t always kind to us. Give this trick a go if she’s being temperamental.

Many photographers love shooting during golden hour because the ambient light imparts a soft, gorgeous warmth onto our subject matter. Those fleeting moments during golden hour often produce some of the most stunning images regardless if you’re photographing landscapes or portraits. Aside from the short window of opportunity, we’re also very much at Mother Nature’s mercy when photographing during golden hour. Weather conditions, cloud coverage, time of year, and a slew of other factors determine whether the ambient light is actually golden during its eponymous hour. All hope is not lost, however, if Mother Nature happens to be a cruel mistress while you’re out photographing. By mastering your camera’s white balance settings, you will gain the ability to control how intense golden hour’s effects appear in your image. You can even simulate the appearance of golden hour if Mother Nature is giving you the cold shoulder. Let’s dive right in.

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Portrait Photography Tutorial: This One Tool Gets You Perfect Skin Tones

How do you get perfect skin tones when working with tough white balances?

Fact: most photographers shoot in auto-white balance and deal with the problems of skin tones and color later on. But, it can be pretty tricky at times, so today, we’re showing how to get better skin tones and master perfect white balance at the same time. The result will be great colors in every portrait you shoot. No matter what lighting situation you’re in, you’ll find that you can use this trick to get the most pop in your photos every single time. Now, this Portrait Photography Tutorial can apply across a broad range of photo editing software, but we’re doing it in Capture One 20. It’s no secret that Capture One 20 does the best job when editing RAW files. So, let’s dive in.

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5 Quick Tips on Shooting Better Night Portraits with Ambient Lighting

For the photographers who come alive when the sun goes down, shooting better portraits at night is a great skill to have.

We get it: you want to photograph a moment just the way you see it! Many photographers who shoot portraits at night eventually begin to understand how lighting works once they get enough experience. During the nighttime, most of the light we know and see is absent, except for the little bit that is provided artificially. So, until you know how to work with strobes, we recommend that you learn how to make the most of available light at night.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: White Balance Presets Guide

Break away from your camera’s Auto white balance setting with this nifty guide on the other white balance presets at your disposal.

It may seem like a good idea to stick to the Auto white balance setting and let your camera figure things out on its own. One less setting to worry about, right? If you’re consistently happy about your results, you may not find it necessary to change to another setting. However, it always helps to learn more about the other options that you can use, especially if you’re shooting with artificial lighting or tricky lighting situations. For this, we bring yet another useful photography cheat sheet that you can use as a reference.

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Photography Cheet Sheet: The Color Temperature Scale Explained

All you need to know about color temperature and its relationship with white balance summarized in one handy cheat sheet.

White balance is one of the crucial elements you have to work with to ensure accurate colors in your photos. To be able to do this, you have to know how to use the color temperature scale. Whether you’re just discovering color temperature in photography or looking for a better understanding of it, we’re sure this infographic by Digital Camera World will serve as a quick reference for you.

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Try This: When Photowalking, Shoot in Manual Mode Not Aperture Mode

fall landscape photography

The mere act of putting the extra effort into taking your photos will result in naturally better images that you’re paying more attention to.

The next time you go on a photo walk, I encourage every single one of you to turn off all the automatic modes and shoot completely manual. While this may sound like something lots of folks do, I’m sure that you all know in the deepest darkest parts of your hearts that you’re not doing this. Many folks shoot in aperture priority or even P for Professional mode. I did it. You most likely do it. Lots of folks do. And I think that we should all stop operating on autopilot and instead make more concerted efforts to take better images instead of just shooting hundreds just because we can. It genuinely isn’t going to make any of us any better no matter how hard you’ll try to argue against it.

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Learn White Balance Basics to Achieve Accurate Colors

We hear about the importance of getting the white balance right all the time. This quick tutorial shows us how we can do that to get great colors in our photos.

How do you make sure the colors in your photos are as accurate as you saw them? You set the white balance on your camera or do it in post-processing. In a quick tutorial by J.T. of the Run N Gun channel, he explains how this is done through a variety of white balance presets and by using your own settings.

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How White Balance Effects Editing a Black and White Photo

Who would’ve ever thought that white balance is something that’s so very important to an image and especially so in black and white? Believe it or not, most people wouldn’t think so. They’re perfectly content with going along with whatever the camera gives them in auto. Even further, many folks never even care to edit their white balance. White balance can surely affect the colors in an image but they’ll really affect the way that the tones in black and white photography works out too. We’re going to show you how white balance can greatly alter your black and white image and the theories behind it.

The Theory

If you’ve ever seen the movie Blade Runner, consider how many of the scenes in the cities would have looked if the scenes were lit warmer. It would have surely given off a significantly different feel but that would also mean that the entire color scheme would be completely different. I face this all the time when I’m reviewing cameras and lenses and if you want to experience it for yourself, I suggest going out during the golden hour and the blue hour and shooting photos. Try auto white balance, Tungsten at 3200K, and Daylight at 5600K white balances. What you’ll find it that the scenes will all look much different. The sky, man made lights, the sun, etc will all be dramatically different. For starters, Tungsten white balance tends to make images more blue while daylight tends to make them warmer. Need more proof of this? Go into a bar at night or any place lit with candles. Shoot at both white balances and you’ll see a pretty major difference. That difference will convert itself over via color editing.

Now let’s go deeper:

  • Daylight white balance will make a scene warmer. So all the warmer colors will tend to blend into one another
  • Tungsten white balance will make a scene cooler, so the cooler toned colors will blend into one another
  • This affects a variety of things such as skin tones, overall feel of the image, and most of all the color channels.

Let’s take a closer look at this now.

The Images in Color

This is the scene that we’re going to study right now. There are three main light sources: the natural window lighting coming from behind Mike camera left, the tungsten lighting behind me giving off the warmer look and the iPhone. Mike has lighter toned skin and so in this scene and with this white balance the entire scene seems sort of normal to how we would see the scene in real life. Those look like natural skin tones. The background all looks natural. It seems about right.

Now answer these questions:

  • What colors are most prevalent in the scene?
  • Who or what is the main subject of the photo?
  • What colors are prevalent on the main subject?
  • What colors are prevalent in the rest of the scene and that differ from the subject?
  • Do the colors tend to bleed into one another?

Answer those, and you’ll see a lot of similarities. For the record, this white balance is 5600k daylight.

Now this scene is 3200k tungsten. As you can clearly see, the entire scene changes here. Answer the same questions as above. This scene has a much greater presence of blues and purples due to the white balance.

The Conversions

Here’s the top image at 5600K white balance converted to black and white in Capture One.

Here’s the image at 3200 converted to black and white in Capture One.

The Edits

5600K Edited

Here I was able to create a low contrast image simply because red tends to dominate the entire scene. Mike has very red undertones and his skin is associated with Orange, Red and Yellow channels in Capture One. Lightroom would do the same thing.

5600K Edited: Skin tones affected by Red and Yellow

Try to work with those color channels and you’ll be affecting the entire scene. No good.

3200K Edited for Skin Tones

But try it in Tungsten and you’ll find that the scene is much easier to work with. You’ll get a much more pleasing black and white image where you can have a ton of clear separation of his skin tones and the rest of the scene. That makes Mike stand out from the scene more. We haven’t even gotten into editing for Contrast, brightness, etc. But those can also surely be taken into account. However, you don’t need to because those are much more globalized adjustments and can often lead to very destructive editing of a photo. Working with color channels though does that much less so.

Tutorial Video: How Custom White Balance Makes Editing Much Better Than Auto

Custom white balance will speed up your workflow so much more.

If you’re a photographer who shoots in auto white balance, stop. Can you fix it in post? Yes. Will it really, truly help you? No, not really. I’ve been very much of the opinion and idea that photographers should go into shooting with a creative vision of some sort to help them create images that are more unique to them, and a customized white balance is only the start of this. It’s bound to help you create images that someone else shooting the exact same thing most likely won’t get. Of course, you’re starting with the content, but why not go further?

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How to Get Film-like Warm Skin Tones With Daylight White Balance

One of the reasons I use specific white balances like Daylight when shooting photos is because it tends to take the guesswork out of editing and colors. Daylight white balance is balanced to be fairly warm and to counteract the already very cool light that daylight is. Though many times there are situations where you’d rather have warm skin tones in the scene. For the most part, what people tend to do is just work with the white balance to make the skin warmer but then in the process just make the whole scene warmer.

This happens a whole lot when working during the blue hour, in overcast weather etc.

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The Truth About How White Balance And Your Camera Actually Work

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t care about white balance in the same way that you care about manual control over the exposure of the image. The way that color is rendered in a photo can completely change the way that it appears and in order to get the absolute best color, you should use manual control over your white balance in the same way that you manually control the ISO, aperture and shutter speeds. While manufacturers sit there and try in vain to get better high ISO results and more dynamic range, they’re not giving us what can possibly provide for even more creative freedom: better color control. The majority of cameras don’t provide incredibly accurate color control or gradation from their sensors. Film arguably does a better job of this in the right situations but digital cameras are capable of getting pretty darned close to real results.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Using Gels as a Strobist Photographer

Gels are bound to scare away most portrait photographers and strobists simply because they don’t understand how to really use them. But one of the coolest things that you can do as a photographer is learn how to use gels to tell a different story in your portraits and overall in your photography. You see, gels color the light output of your flash which is typically balanced to Daylight and therefore is very cool. But once you understand that you can make that light all sorts of various colors, you’ll get how awesome it can be to use gels.

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P for Professional: What I Learned From Shooting in Program Auto

P for Professional: that’s the mantra that has been preached by photographer after photographer simply to make fun of the idea. It’s been taken so seriously that the Home Shopping Network has said it at times with complete seriousness. Though amongst the millions of us, we tend to know better. This saying is often connotated with the idea that a person shooting in P mode can’t shoot in manual mode. But looking at loads of photographers out there, a whole lot of them shoot in aperture priority or shutter priority which more or less also automates the process. The idea of shooting in P, or Program Auto, is blasphemy to so many photographers out there as a result of the photography industry’s years of marketing and ideals.

So at a certain point in time while reviewing the Canon 77D, I thought to myself that maybe I should give it a shot. In 11 years of shooting photos, I’ve honestly never used the P mode until very recently.

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