White Balance at Church Ceremony

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by melandkeifspics, May 20, 2015.

  1. Every time I edit a wedding I have the hardest time with the church ceremony. For one, I try to avoid using flash and I have to crank my ISO pretty high, especially when shooting with a 70-200mm. Even at 2.8 (which when shooting from an angle is not ideal to get both bride and groom in focus), I find that I have to crank my 5DM3 to 6400 ISO. But more frustrating than that is my inability to nail my white balance. Sometimes the images are yellow (from the indoor lighting), sometimes green (from window light bouncing off the painted walls), sometimes too blue (when the bride walks in from the outside. What do you guys do to combat all the different lighting and color temp difference from different spots with a church?

    One thought I had was to take a photo of someone holding a grey card in each spot/angle I know where I'll be shooting, but a lot of times I don't have the luxury of time and I need to shoot the actual ceremony. Help....
  2. you can't produce a single, unified white balance of an image of a scene that is lit with multiple and widely different color temp light sources.

    If you have green/blue window light and orange tungsten light illuminating the scene in one image, you'll either split the difference, balance for one or the other, or convert the scene to monochrome.

    If the scenes are lit with one light source, but their color temp varies from frame to frame, your in camera white balance won't matter, if you're shooting raw files, which can be white balanced in post... t
  3. I used to carry a piece of white paper that I knew from testing was a spectrally neutral white. I'd take a quick shot of that when in tricky situations and used that as a starting point. I'd set a custom white balance setting if I had the time or just use it when processing raw files. If the bride or groom are wearing anything that is white you can also use that to set the WB in each shot.
    Then sometimes there is no other option than to use two different white balance settings when developing the raw file. It can also be done in retouch using two differently developed version of the same raw file and then assembled into one using layer masks.
    To get a high level of consistency between shots in the same location I'd always fine tune the WB by having two images on the screen next to each other. One master or reference shot from the scene as a sample and then I fine tune all the others in relation to that.
    PS. Flash does help sometimes with color balance. IMHO however to make it look good when you mix it with warm lighting you need to use gels on the flash. Otherwise you get a very orange tinted background which I think looks unprofessional.
  4. Churches can have a lot of mixed light, so you're going to see this problem pretty often. Fortunately, msot wedding gowns are white. And even if the gown is white, the groom is most likely wearing a white shirt with his tux. Between the two, you have a known white in the photo, so you click on that to fix the raw file and that should give you correct white balance on the bride and groom's faces and clothing. The catch is that the color could then be wrong for the background. But the skintones for the people are the most important part of the picture, so it's more important to get the faces right than the backrground. if you're a real whiz in Photoshop, you could probably mask out the background and set a separate white balance for it, but that's a lot of work for anything other than a couple of images.
  5. Shoot Raw and use adjustment brushes in ACR/LR after correcting WB. It's consistency that's of main concern regarding reducing edit workload but second to getting correct looking skin tones.
    I constantly shoot in conditions you describe (not weddings) and it's never easy. I usually just leave it at AWB on the camera if I'm shooting interiors lit by a mix of window daylight, fluorescent tubes/CFL's and tungsten. Pick the incamera WB based on the subject you want a consistent color cast with during the shoot and let everything else fall where it may and fix in post.
    ACR/LR versions with PV2010-PV2012 have a color palette selector within its adjustment brush tool you can use to correct local color casts that are not harmonious to the rest of the scene. Also reducing saturation of said cast using the adjustment brush tool can help as well.
  6. I used the wedding dress (always white) to color balance. No matter what lighting is in the church the color of the dress doesn't change. Simple.
    Hope that helps.

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