Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another Way to Set White Balance

White balance (WB).

One of those little "get it right in camera" things that separates the novice from the experienced.  And, I know, if you shoot RAW you can adjust it later (use the WB eyedropper to click on something neutral, preferably a grey card in your first frame if available).  But that can be a lot of work later, and, if you happen to have nothing neutral in the frame, can be persnickity, anyway.

I recently stumbled upon a new way to set white balance that I thought I'd share.  Like everything photography, I'm sure some of you already know this one, but I've never heard of anyone talking about it, so.....

If you choose to set your white balance while shooting (highly recommended), there are several ways to go about it.  Some rely on Auto White Balance (AWB).  Fine in a pinch, but often a bit unreliable, especially on a frame to frame basis.  Many cameras will give you presets for Sunlight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten light, and one or more fluorescent settings.

There are also usually options for custom white balance as well as setting the temperature by the Kelvin scale.  With custom white balance, you shoot something neutral (white or grey -- preferably a perfect 18% grey -- like a photographic grey card) in the ambient or flash light that will be visible in your upcoming shots.  Then you choose the picture you've just taken as the reference for the camera to set WB.  But what if you left the grey card elsewhere and nothing is neutral?  Or pop an Expodisk over your lens to get your reference.

All good ways that certainly work most of the time.  Kid tested, mother approved.

Lately I've been using the Kelvin scale.  I make an educated guess about the proper temperature to use or set it somewhere around 5000 and take a test shot.  Too warm, I crank it down.  Too cool, crank it up.  Take another test shot.  By this time I'm pretty close.  Rinse, repeat, etc until I've nailed it.

I just found a way to get to the proper number just a little bit quicker if your camera has an option for in-camera RAW processing. First, take a picture in the light you'll be working in, whether that be ambient or with flash, at or near the proper exposure for your scene.  Then, from your menu, find an option for Raw Image Processing -- that's what my Canon 6D calls it. Your last image will pop up -- hit "set". Now Raw editing tools come up.  Use the toggle to work down to the WB option. Scroll through to the Kelvin option and turn that dial until the image looks just right.  Now make a note as to that exact Kelvin number.  Say it's 3600.  

Now back out, go to the regular menu area for setting the WB.  Again select the Kelvin option.  Dial in that number that looked so great a moment ago (in our example 3600).  And voila!  You're ready to shoot until the lighting situation changes.

While this isn't as fast as an Expodisk or grey card, it's a terrific option if those items are unavailable or if they aren't quite getting you to the exact look you prefer (sometimes a TRUE white balancing can be less than appealing if you are in multi-colored lights, say at a concert, or sitting around a campfire, where a certain orange cast is necessary to evoke the correct mood.

I'd be very interested if any else out there is using this technique or if you have another method to set your WB that I didn't mention.

Eager to hear from you!   ~R

Addendum:  Based on discussions with other photographers, some variations came up.  First and foremost, when working in strictly ambient light, you can adjust K live and on the fly by going into livemode.  From there you should be able to access the K adjustment (exactly how/where depends on camera) and dial in a color while watching live how it affects the image.  For straight-up ambient, this is certainly the fastest and truest.

If using flash that overpowers ambient, simply set to the Flash color setting.  However if the flash mixes with ambient, gel the flash to match ambient, usually with 1/4 or 1/2 CTO (color temperature orange gel).  For this method several of the above methods will work, including the onboard RAW processing method.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

doctors, not models

These two lovely humans are a married pair of doctors who came by the ol' studio the other day for headshots for business purposes.  I capture all the beautiful people in my camera.  I'm so lucky!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 is the story I fail to put into words.....

Best Local Wedding Photographers


Review of service/rental equipment from LensProToGo (

Few weeks back, I knew I needed some extra gear to cover a big Sikh wedding.  I had used Cameralensrentals once before (review here: ) but I went with LensProToGo this time because I had some gift cards for them (from winning a Westcott contest last year).

I created an account with LensProToGo and ordered a Canon 5DIII, a spare battery, the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L, and the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II.  My only complaint with the actual order process is that I could not figure out how to input coupon codes from more than one gift card.  I ordered the gear for four days and added on protection plans for everything except the battery.

As a first time customer, they said I would be contacted (presumably to make sure I am legit -- oh, I assure you I am all kinds of legit!).  They never called, but simply emailed me that I was approved and the order would be placed as requested.

On a Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the fine UPS folk brought me a heavy box.  I cracked it open to find a hearty Pelican Case (here is a biggy over Cameralensrentals).  All the pieces plus a battery charger were snuggly bedded down in the case.  Also instructions on returning and a return label.  In retrospect, it might have been a nice touch to include the manual for the camera, but I'm sure it is available online and I managed quite nicely without it.

So.... shot the terrific wedding, placed everything back in the Pelican the way I found it, sealed it up securely and took it to the nearest UPS store.  The hand off, the receipt and off I went.  End of story.... almost.

This past week I ordered more gear for the wedding of Emily and Mark that is coming up in three days!  I placed the order, finalized it, and washed my hands of it, when I realized that I didn't enter a coupon code at the right place.  I called LPTG and explained the situation.  AND.......

Nary a "pssht" and they took care of it and credited my account accordingly.

The verdict:

Unless something dramatic changes in the world of photography gear rental, LensProToGo is my new go-to place.  Maybe I'll rent the crazy Petzval lens for some arty work

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Model: Kennedy Griest
Photographer: Ron Warren Photography
MUA/Hair: Bella Artistry
Studio/Host/Pose Maker Extraordinaire: Christy Bunge / Christy Bunge Studio
 — atChristy Bunge Photography.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Headshot deal! New strobes! Ron Warren Photography in SE Michigan!

So, I have some new strobes down at the studio (near WSU) and some availability on Thursday and Friday 6/26 and 6/27).  Business headshots, normally $99 -- book a session Thursday or Friday and help me test the lights -- sessions only $79.00! In SE Michigan, / .  This deal will not be repeated this year!

Friday, June 20, 2014

We're Here For You! Ron Warren Photography in SE Michigan, in the good ol' US of A

Just booked a big job shooting commercial properties.  What sort of photography would help ramp up your business?  I'm mighty versatile!  In SE Michigan,

Visual, We Be ~ Yoda on behalf of Ron Warren Photography in SE Michigan

Humans are very visual creatures.  We experience almost everything with sight first, then all those other swell senses.  And since we can't always place ourselves in front of the subjects we want to explore, pictures and video can bring the whole world home.  National Geographic used to be the way we experienced the wonders of the world.  Now the internet is the great equalizer.  Take quality pix (or hire someone to do it for you) to really show off your business, your brand, your product, or your smiling face!  It just might be the first impression you make on potential new clients!

Friday, May 30, 2014

real estate photography in Oakland County, MI by Ron Warren Photography

Lots of real estate photography this month -- this amazing all-season room is in Birmingham. Know any Realtors that would like their listings to sell faster? In Oakland county, Michigan,

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Busiest April ever for Ron Warren Photography in SE Michigan!

Had an amazing April! Work for Autoline, Expeditors, Dearborn Kidney Center, NDIA, HPC, A Little Nudge, Real Estate One, OPAACC, model Cayleigh Stilt, and booked two weddings. Now what shall we do in May?

Friday, April 25, 2014

busy weekend for Ron Warren Photography

Lots to do this weekend: a wedding, a portrait shoot, and a meeting about a wedding. Phew! What can we shoot for you? In SE Michigan, !

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Very Positive Review of Ron Warren Photography in SE Michigan

Recently did work for the Dearborn Kidney Center, and here's what they said about the experience (on Yelp):

"Ron did an amazing job photographing my clinic and my staff.  He brought a veritable studio with him and was able to shoot everything from portrait quality head shots to outdoor architectural pictures.  Very friendly and professional I recommended him to my corporate office to do all the local work for my company."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wonderful Busy April for Ron Warren Photography in SE, Michigan.

So far April has involved an auto executive award ceremony, executive headshots, pix of staff and facilities for the Dearborn Kidney Center, and coverage of the NDIA ROTC Awards banquet. And lined up for the rest of the month, we're looking forward to gigs to shoot marketing pix for an executive, real estate, a wedding, a model, and pix for a client for online dating. But there is still time on the calendar (and, of course, May!). What can we photograph for you? In SE Michigan, !

Sunday, April 13, 2014

red tailed hawk in oak park mi by !!

Need fine art?  Event coverage? Other photo needs?  We cover many subject areas.  Just call and ask.  We'll be straight with you from the start! (redtailed hawk, Oak Park, MI, April 13, 2014, f11, 1/1000th sec., 1600 ISO, 300mm)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

some of our clients (ron warren photography in se Michigan)

Hey! Wanna see a partial list of our clients? Let's talk about your photo needs in SE Michigan! #photographyneeds Activision Detroit Symphony Orchestra Uber Sugerman Communications Group Stillwater Collective Southwest Solutions Everfi, Inc. Detroit Club WID - MI Chapter (Women In Defense) NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association) Media Solutions, Inc. Woodward Parking Hostel Detroit City of Oak Park, Michigan Autoline Dearborn Kidney Center Due Venti Italian Restaurant Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit American Cancer Society Expeditors, Inc. The George Washington University

Monday, March 31, 2014

BIRDS! Detroit Zoo. Ron Warren Photography

A few of the interesting birds of the Detroit Zoo.