Friday, March 18, 2011

Fabulous Friday - Anything But Challenge

We are so fortunate to have Stevie host today's Fabulous Friday - Anything But challenge!

Today I thought I’d change things up a bit and do a photography tutorial.  We’re going to learn how to use an 18% Grey Card.  A grey card is a tool that photographers use to adjust and get the correct white balance in a photo.  These cards are very inexpensive to buy –mine came in a 2 pack  (8x10) at my local camera store for $14.99.
You may say “My camera has Automatic White Balance, isn’t that good enough?”.  Yes, MOST of the time, but there are times when even your camera is fooled.  This happens mainly at night when the camera is reading exposure and trying to focus in a low light situation.  For these times, and any other time you want the correct white balance, a grey card comes in handy.  A grey card works with cameras that will allow you set a CUSTOM WHITE BALANCE.  This is the easiest, BUT if your camera doesn’t have this setting, then don’t worry.  We can get around that.   Check your manual on how to set it.

You will see in this first photo of my ancient teddy bear, the colour is off.  I shot this in daylight on a white sheet.  Notice that the sheet appears blue and the bear, even though he is tan, has a blue tint to him? 

It’s very easy to correct this.  Take your Grey Card and place it beside whatever it is you wish to photograph.  Make sure that you are focused on the grey card.   In this second photo, you can see that the tones are correct.  Don’t erase this photo! 

Now you can set your custom white balance on your camera, if it has this feature.  If it doesn’t, just save this last photo and continue to take your photos. 

You can see that my teddy bear is the correct shade and my sheet is now white. 

If your camera doesn’t have a custom white balance feature, then open up your photo editing software.  I use PSE9, so directions are for that.  Open up your photo with your grey card in it.  Go to Enhance/Adjust lighting levels.  This will open a dialogue box.  You will see three eyedroppers. Click on the grey one (in the middle) and then click on the grey card in your photo.  Like magic your photo will adjust to the correct white balance.  If you don’t want to buy a grey card, I have found that the Bazzill “thunder” grey cardstock is very close in colour. 

Give it a try!

Thanks Stevie - I am going to give this a try right away!


Rosie said...

Great, great tip Stephanie! Thanks for explaining that so clearly.

Lorraine said...

What great tutorial! I'm going to have to give it a try!

Rebecca said...

thanks for that great tutorial Stephanie! I've always wondered about the grey card!