red highlights ruining shots

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by laurapond, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. I recently shot a gig for the band I work for, and I encountered some interesting results. The combination of a red background and warm
    lighting caused all other tonal values to be pretty much erased, and everything had a red tinge to it. I am shooting another gig for them this
    weekend, and the background will be red again. I'm not sure of the color of the lights, but is there something i can do in the camera to
    change this so I don't have weird looking photos again. These are shot RAW, Nikon D200, 50mm f/1.4 at 1/80 of a sec ISO 500. The first
    photo is straight out of the camera, and the second is what I recovered in photoshop.
    <img src=>
    <img src=>
  2. First, what's your white balance set to?

    Now, you won't like this, because it's a pain on a D200.

    I shoot very warm light situations with an old fashioned 80A filter. Cameras sensors are pretty much daylight balanced. Even studio levels of tungsten lighting (3200K) mean the camera has to boost the blue channel a couple of stops relative to the red, and it's hard for the exposure system to deal with the huge imbalance between red and blue without blowing the red channel. The 80A will fix all that.

    It will also eat up over a stop of your sensitivity, and you're already at 1/80 sec ISO 500. You'd probably end up something like 1/50 sec, ISO 1000, not the D200's forte.
  3. I shoot at a venue that sometimes has similar red overhead lighting. It probably looks the way it looks because that is the way the lighting is.
  4. Did the singer - when you saw him perform - appear to be a "white" man, or did your eyes perceive him as red tinged? Our
    eyes will overcome single color casts only to an extend. So, maybe the first pic is how the scene really looked, who knows?

    And trying to make that lilly-white would do injustice to reality .... even if you do not like the way it looks on screen.
  5. i find that when shooting concerts with no flash in red lighting, using the 2500k WB setting takes some of the red out. if you're shooting RAW, you can change this after the fact. another solution is to convert to monochrome--speia works well-which puts all the detail back in. but that's a difficult shot since the background is completely red and the stage lights appear to be a fuschia gel. another option is to use flash. here's a shot taken at a venue with a red background with flash:
  6. and here's one taken at the same venue with no flash:
  7. It looks as if the lighting effects on the band were prediminently magenta which caused the colouration. When Lighting a band I use colour gels for effects but open white in the main much like big concerts. I would suggest using a flash to blow out the effects of the couloured lighting effects.
  8. mjt


    Laura - I shoot quite a bit of roaming concerts and bands<br />
    at local venues. You know what - I like the first one better<br />
    than the "repaired" second image. And many of the bands that<br />
    I shoot would prefer the first, because it presents the mood<br />
    of the show. <br /><br />

    The second shot looks flat and muted, with no "character".<br /><br />

    It also depends on the band's genre. You'll find with most<br />
    rock, punk, new wave, hard core, bands, they want the look<br />
    of the venue. I've found if a band wants clear shots (white light),<br />
    then you shoot staged shots in the venue or outside. <br /><br />

    Another way to "cure" this photo is to change it to grey-scale<br />
    or some other "no color" style or some wildly creative "fix".<br />
    For example, I've used Edge Detect or Neon on a photo like<br />
    this and the band went ga-ga over it.<br /><br />

    The problem with shooting venues like this is that you really can't <br />
    nail the white balance, because the lighting is ever-changing.<br />
    Personally, I think it's more about being creative in post-processing<br />
    than it is in being "pre-prepared".<br />
  9. The Lee Varis book, "Skin," points out on page 43 that it may not be possible to get both good skin tones and deep reds, and I've found that to be true in my own limited experience, even with normal light sources. Varis says: "This deficiency is inherent with Bayer pattern chips and has to do with the overlay in frequencies between red and green filters on the chip." You might consider using a mask in Photoshop to adjust skin tones separately from the background.
  10. You blew the red channel...

    This can also happen with saturated colors from flowers. You will need to reduce your exposure in the future to avoid this. I will dial in -1.7 EV when I shoot saturated flowers that are predominantly red.
  11. Underexposure isn't the solution. At best it'll increase noise.

    When shooting live theater I've messed around with custom white balances and tweaking the individual color channels in the camera, since my goal was to create JPEGs ready to print without further tweaking. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Depends on how fast the lights are changing. There's always the raw files to fall back on, but a lot of careful editing is needed to correct for this sort of problem.

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