Thursday, September 8, 2011

Photographing Silver / White Balance

I have been struggling for months to take great photos of shiny silver on a white background. It has been a nightmare for me.

My biggest problem has been the inability to get a true white on my background. There has always been some color tinting. When I have edited my photos to remove the tinting, my silver look dull and washed out. Or the silver is so dark, it looks dirty.  Like I said, nightmare.

I was told that my white balance needed to be corrected. So I went into my camera settings are chose the appropriate white balance setting. If I was shooting outside on a cloudy day, I would choose the white balance setting for cloudy. If I was shooting inside under incandescent lights, I would choose the inside setting that made white paper look white in the view screen. No matter which setting I was choosing, I would end up with a tinted photo.

Why was it so hard for my camera to see a white piece of paper and know it was white? Seems like it should be child's play for a camera now a days.

Last night I was looking through my new camera's manual. I wanted to see what it's white balance options were. I realized there was a custom white balance settings. Hmm is this what I have been struggling to find?

Below you will see a shot of my silver earrings, each taken under a different white balance setting.

This first set of photos are "as is". I have not altered them in any way.

I took the pictures above and edited them in Photoshop. To ensure that I did not over edit any of the pictures, I used the batch editing tool. This changed the brightness and contrast of each photo by the same number. I wanted you guys to also see what the photos looked like cleaned up a bit. 

 Hopefully, now that I know how to set my white balance, I will have more luck (and fewer headaches) taking pictures of silver on a white background.

To set a custom white balance on your camera, you will need to check your manual. In my case, I simply had to focus on a white surface while highlighting the custom white balance icon in my camera menu.

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