Studio colour cast/wash

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by glenys_everest, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Strange one here, sorry.
    We have Nikons DSLRs at work, and we have never had this problem before, but since we have bought in the D800s we have had a problem across each of our 3 studios.
    For some reason we have been getting a Yellowy orange cast on every image, but not one that can be just sorted by shifting over to blue/cyan on the colour balance - it seems like a "wash" of colour that can only be removed by desaturating the yellow/reds in photoshop (and then of course it starts "greying out" some of the natural tones in the images).
    Because we are based in a teaching hospital, we work with a lot of different skin tones (including the darker tones which really glow orange unnaturally at the moment), so it getting a bit disconcerting, with some people even trying to correct the printouts (when required) by altering the printer properties. Mind you my opinion is "rubbish in...rubbish out" so I feel it has to be sorted out at the image capture stage.
    Most of the stuff is accessible on a central server, so it can be argued that all the staff who access the images will be looking on different screens, but I have found that when the casts are removed, a lot more clinical detail can be revealed (ie bruising) that was masked, which the doctors need to be able to see.
    Does anyone know if this a problem particularly with the D880s, or the studio lighting (bowens) and what can we do about it?
    Thanks
    Glenys
     
  2. I usually select the white balance in Kelvins when I use studio flash equipment. If this doesn't turn out satisfactory results, you could use the preset white balance feature which requires the use of a neutral or white card that fills the frame; after you take a shot of the card using the lights, the camera remembers the white balance required for your flashes (until you alter it). Finally, it is possible to use a color chart to generate a custom profile for e.g. ACR.
     
  3. Hi Glenys,
    you do not say wether you are shooting raw or Jpeg, but i guess the latter is the case.
    I have heared some more remarks about the white balance being "off"for everything flash.. ( example : http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3544511#forum-post-52134682 )
    So my advice :
    - Shooting Raw, correcting the white balance in post should give you the control you need,
    - Shooting JPEG only : Use a white or grey card to set custom white balance ...
    Off course if Flash is not the main light source, environmental light could always influence the out of camera results, and cause some extra challenges getting the WB right ...
     
  4. pge

    pge

    As others have suggested your problem is white balance. You did not mention in your post whether you shoot jpegs or raw so I am going to assume you shoot jpegs. What do you have the d800 white balance set to now? Try Flash as your white balance and if that is not satisfactory try the sunny setting. As others have noted you can make a preset for your particular strobes. The more accurate way to do it is to shoot raw. In that case you can set the white balance while processing the photo.
    I suggest that you bring the photos that you have now into a program like Lightroom. I wonder if there is anything white or neutral grey in the photos such as the background. Also the whites of the eyes can work. In lightroom you use a tool to select white or neutral grey and the program shifts the other colour in the photo to give you a properly white balanced result.
    And I should just mention that your problem is not that strange, we all struggle with white balance which is one of the main reasons many of us shoot raw. You have the advantage of shooting under the same lighting situation every time, so once you nail your white balance you will be fine.
     
  5. You also need to check the "Picture Control" menu settings Glenys if you're shooting JPEGs only. These can cause a vast difference in overall appearance and colour balance/saturation.
    I suggest you only ever use the "Neutral" setting if you want accurate colour. It shouldn't be a camera fault, since the D800 sensor gets a very good colour accuracy benchmark on test, and for myself I find the D800 colour to be extremely good, if just a little on the cool (blue) side for my taste when set to sunny daylight.
     
  6. What were your older Nikon DSLRs, before the D800?
    I'm guessing they were set-up once and then no-one knew about it until the new body came in and it has the wrong balance set.
    As others have said, by far the easiest thing to do is a Custom White Balance where in, a manner-of-speaking, you show it something white or colourless grey (filling the frame) and take a pic with your studio lights. The D800 manual is quite good at showing you how.
     
  7. Hi
    Thanks for all your responses. Yes I should really do RAW but would you need to post process with a colour managed system and good screens? We have neither, so I will go with the custom white balance option and see if this works.
    I admit that we don't always turn the overhead lights off in the studio, but it never affected anything when we had the older camers (D200s). I think trying to include a Kodak colour and greyscale card in the photograph would make sense too.
    We use Photoshop to post process, and on there you can cherry pick the white areas with a dropper in levels, but because there are very rarely white areas in the photographs - other than bedsheets, and NHS sheets aren't always "white".
    Thanks :)
     
  8. pge

    pge

    The overhead lights likely make very little difference given how powerful most strobes are. There is a very easy test of course. Set your proper exposure with the strobes, then turn your strobes off and shoot another photo with that same exposure setting. Your frame will likely be black, but at any rate you have just photographed your ambient light.
     
  9. A custom white balance set using a white sheet of paper or preferably a real white balance target is a must for accurate colors.
    I assume you know but in case you don't, shoot at the highest shutter speed possible to minimize ambient light in the image. 1/250th of a second is max for the D800 but you may need to set it slower if your flash doesn't give enough power.
    When shooting you also need to disable auto-iso and have the camera in manual exposure mode of course.
    Then as Rodeo Joe mentioned you need to set the picture control to neutral, perhaps even adjust the contrast and saturation of the image to your liking. Make sure you leave hue alone though. Also make sure the color space is set to sRGB because that will screw things up for you otherwise.
    Also decide if you want to use Nikon's active d-lighting (brightens shadows) which the D200 did not have. I think you should leave it off or select one level but not use auto.
    To be honest I think you should have at least one workstation with a properly calibrated monitor. Otherwise it's hard to diagnose any kind of image problems. Some newer monitors have a wide gamut and display wild colors on images that have no such colors. If you had the money to invest in D800s for shooting and photoshop to process then there should be money for a proper monitor and calibration tools as well.
    If you set a custom white balance and have the camera setup correctly you should get good and relatively accurate colors straight from jpeg.
     

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