Special Report

 

The Sky is Blue and So Is the Ceiling

 

It's been said that there are no second acts in wedding photography.


No one knowledgeable will dispute the fact that photojournalistic-style wedding photography is demanding and moves at a dizzyingly swift pace. You have just enough time to frame the moment and press the shutter button to capture the photons before you. Luckily, the electronics of your camera system are able to keep up with ease. Unfortunately, however, this is only half the battle in producing the final product: pictures that will please your client.


After the shoot, you know that post lab work will be waiting for you to wade through. It's not that you dislike adjusting the exposure, correcting the white balance or aligning and cropping to perfection, because this is really when you "make" the pictures, not at the wedding during the shutter actions. Sure, at that time you needed to be in the ballpark with the correct camera settings, lighting and to be focused on creative composition with your signature shooting style. With all of this groundwork laid, why does it take so much time at the computer for post processing?


Why does the color seem to be off and not easily adjusted? The color of the bride's face seems off. Or is it the color of her dress that's off? You seem to be able to fix one but not both. How much time will you spend on this image? There are many more images that need fixing, maybe hundreds or even thousands. As the old saying goes, "Time is money."


How would you like to substantially reduce your post processing time, in the area of color correction? If so, read on ....


You look up and the ceiling you see isn't white. So just forget about bouncing light off a blue ceiling, right? WAIT! You can actually produce images of excellent quality, bouncing light off a blue ceiling. We will show you how this can be done, with the PRESSlite VerteX.™


As you probably already know, the softest light is achieved by bouncing it off a much larger object, such as a ceiling or wall. The most natural direction for light is from above, bounced off a ceiling. It is also the most convenient surface off which to bounce light. However, when confronted with a ceiling that is other than white in color, like orange or blue, use of the ceiling may seem out of the question. This special report will give you a different perspective on the situation.


The secret is this: The real problem is not actually the color of the ceiling. The real problem is the mixture of colors that is created as a result of bouncing light off a colored ceiling, using a diffuser that in effect contributes a different color.


Let us explain. Generally, the ceiling color (white) matches the diffuser color (white). Under this ideal condition, the two light paths striking the subject are similar in terms of color temperature, which is vital to producing an image that is color matched and easily adjusted to perfection. You don't want your subject's face or the bride's wedding dress to be duo-toned, do you? This is what happens when the light bounced from a colored ceiling is mixed with the white diffuser providing forward fill light. So how can you fix this? Think in terms of the expression, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."


That's right. You can't practically change the color of the ceiling, so change the color of the diffuser! This is quite doable, especially with the PRESSlite VerteX™. Once this color matching is attended to, you can set your camera's white balance to this light, or just leave the camera's white balance setting to auto and then later adjust the white balance in Adobe Lightroom® or other similar image processing software. We recommend shooting in RAW and using the "eyedropper" tool to adjust the white balance with a couple of mouse clicks.


There is a little pre-planning and leg work called for to color match the diffuser to the ceiling. This extra effort is very worthwhile, as your post processing time devoted to color balancing will be dramatically reduced. Your clients will be very happy with your quality work and quick turnaround time, too!


Here's how to color match the ceiling:

  • At the time when you scope out the venue, as wedding photographers do prior to the event, take a picture of the ceiling along with a gray card or white balance tool, like the WhiBal.®
  • White balance the picture of the ceiling by using the "eyedropper" tool in Lightroom® or other similar image processing software.
  • Print the picture (which can be cropped) of the ceiling on regular paper (matte, non glossy) or thicker card stock.
  • Create a custom insert, by cutting the printed picture of the ceiling to size. One of the inserts that comes with the PRESSlite VerteX™ can serve as a template.

 

You may also add a gel to compliment ambient lighting, though the gel is entirely optional and has nothing to do with color matching the ceiling.


Now you are ready to shoot.


Don't be alarmed when you chimp through the images on your 3" LCD and they all look bluish. That's exactly what you want to see. The blue ceiling and blue diffuser will produce bluish light, which will be easily corrected in post processing (we recommend shooting in RAW). Of course, if you had white balanced your camera to this bluish light beforehand, then the images would look perfect on your 3" LCD without post processing. Either way, the final results will be superb.


Remember that fast-paced events can be easily tackled with just one panel. There really is no faster way to change the bounce-to-fill ratio than to use the single panel configuration and the Thumb-Shift mechanism. Have a look at the Speed Guide at www.presslite.com/downloads.php.

 
 
 
 
 

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