WhiBal White Balance Reference Card

Darren wrote this at 4:53 pm:

The WhiBal white balance reference card is a fantastic tool for getting your white balance right when it really matters (e.g. fashion or product photography, difficult lighting conditions, etc).

It’s a little business-card-sized bunch of cards that you take a reference photo of in each lighting situation you’re shooting in. One card is white, one black, and two are grey. When you get back to your computer to edit the photos, you can set the white and black point of your image to recreate the correct exposure and contrast, and use one of the grey cards to set the colour balance of your image.

This tool is not just for digital photographers – film shooters can benefit too. If you shoot negatives, you can make test prints of your reference shot to get the right colour filtration for neutral output. If you shoot slides, you can’t directly modify the white balance of the slides later, but if you need to scan them you can use the reference shot to ensure you scan your good shot with the right exposure and colour corrections.

If colour accuracy is important in your photography, or if you’re just sick of mucking around in Photoshop trying to get skin tones to look natural, WhiBal could help you. And it’s only about USD$45 (USD$50 outside US).

White Balance Tools

Darren wrote this at 7:17 am:

Edwin over at CameraHobby.com has posted a review of several different methods for obtaining accurate white balance: White Balance Tools.

The tools he looks at include:

  • Auto white balance
  • Kodak grey cards
  • WhiBal cards
  • ExpoDisc
  • Pringles lid
  • home-printed inkjet black/grey/white strips

Producing Your Own Photography Book

Darren wrote this at 12:49 pm:

Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape is currently in the process of publishing a book of his photographs from Bangladesh.

He’s using 100 Books Publishing Company to print the book, and seems very happy with the price and quality, even for small print runs (under 1000 copies).

There’s a lot to preparing a book for publication, and Michael describes the process in quite good detail. It’s not a small project to undertake, but it is within reach for any photographer with a portfolio of 75 or so high-standard photographs and the money to back it.

Down at the bottom of the article there’s a link to email Michael to register interest in this book. It’ll only cost USD$29.95 + shipping and handling, which is a real bargain for anyone interested in seeing the work of a prolific pro. I’ve signed up for my copy!

Understanding ProPhoto RGB Color Space

Darren wrote this at 12:54 am:

Another great article from The Luminous Landscape, this one is about understanding ProPhoto RGB.

Most photographers work under the assumption that Adobe RGB 98 is the most suitable working space within Photoshop. Everyone also knows that the sRGB working space is smaller, and therefore less suitable for professional and fine-art printing applications. Sure, sRGB is fine for amateurs and the web, but real men use Adobe RGB – right?

Well, not really.

ProPhoto RGB is a much larger color space than those most often used by photographers – sRGB and Adobe RGB 98. For a serious photographer, this can mean you preserve more of your original image’s colors through more of your editing process, and then only clipping your color space in the final image when you output it for printing or display.

Using ProPhotoRGB is analagous to using 16-bit color to preserve the subtle tones and color range while you’re working on an image, and only converting back to 8-bit color for printing. Doing drastic edits on an 8-bit image can result in quantised histograms and banding in your output. Doing those edits on a 16-bit image and downsampling to 8-bit at the end avoids these problems.

There are caveats to using ProPhoto RGB, however. You need to be conscious of the fact that your working color space is much larger than printers or monitors can output. If much of your image lies in these ‘out of gamut’ areas of the color space, you could end up with weird colors or large areas of fully-saturated color in your final print.

GretagMacbeth Improves Eye-One

Darren wrote this at 10:48 pm:

GretagMacbeth has just released a new version of their Eye-One Match color management solution:

Latest enhancements to GretagMacbeth’s Eye-One color management solutions set new benchmark for speed and error-free handling

  • New accelerated Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer and enhanced Eye-One Match software incorporate improved, intelligent algorithms, making chart reading twice as fast and even more effortless
  • New, easy-to-use Digital Camera module addresses primary photo workflow tasks

Read the full press release for more detailed information.

Is This Color Real?

Darren wrote this at 10:56 am:

Alain Briot has published an interesting article on Digital Outback Photo about literal versus expressive representations of color.

I am often asked if the color of a specific photograph is real or not. My answer is always the same. Yes, it is real. The reaction from the person asking the question is usually one of disbelief. They beg to differ. To them the color is not real. To me it is real. Who is right?

Uwe Steinmueller has also added a comment at the end of the article, backing up Alain and developing the discussion with further examples.