Folksy Ltd

Winter - colour matching / lighting problems

I’m in Scotland and this time of year, the overall light tends to have a blue cast to it. This is obviously not too helpful when I’m trying to photograph coloured items!

Daylight means everything is very coldly lit, which I can warm up a little using my software. I can more or less cope with this, but daylight hours here are short so I end up using artificial light.

I have a light tent and use the lamps that come with that, and find the colour cast changes at random - some photos taken seconds apart with no changes apart from a twiddle with positioning of the item (ie turning it) can be yellowish in tone, others have a very blue cast whilst others are reddish. Again, I can fiddle on software, but I never feel I quite get it right.

Is there a consistant way to compensate for winter light that anyone has managed to find? I’m so frustrated and would love to know how to tackle this properly.

1 Like

Can you alter the lighting settings on your camera? This sometimes works but it’s a bit hit and miss to be honest.

Hello Lois…
…we too are here in Scotland and can sympathise with your lighting dilemma!
We always use ‘daylight’ bulbs in our lamps used for photography, so they are consistent with avoiding colour-casts. Any minor corrections are a quick ‘one-click’ in Adobe Photoshop Elements, always brightens up the pictures, too!
Hope this can be of help to you.

1 Like

Have you tried taking your photos outside? I find the colours are truer if I take them outside around midday if it is bright but a little overcast and then tweak them a little with my camera software.

Is your camera set to automatic for white balance? That is usually when mine is always changing the colour cast, because it can’t decide what lighting it’s in (you don’t even have to move a thing, sometimes it’ll just suddenly decide “oh no, it must be this light setting instead” and then they all look different).

The majority of my photos are taken in artificial light, I just always make sure I set the white balance on my camera
I think most cameras these days except the very simplest should have at least a few settings for it, usually automatic, daylight, cloudy, incandescent and fluorescent.(and if you’re lucky, a custom/temperature setting for trickier, more unusual bulbs). Incandescent seems the most common for household lighting, usually shown with a lightbulb symbol (although I often have to use custom in my house because we have some annoying halogen lights that give a slight green cast), but if you want to take them in wintery daylight then cloudy is probably best for you.

Before editing your photos, make sure that your computer monitor is calibrated. When my monitor is on it’s standard setting, it emits a lot of blue light, giving things a pronounced colour cast where there is none when the photos are viewed on my phone. Calibrating your monitor will ensure that your have a correct measurement for any colour cast and will ensure that you do not inadvertently give your items a yellowish cast, which was what I was doing before I realised! Classic crafting fail :tired_face:

Sam x

Just had a look at your shop and I can confirm that, on my android phone, this item

has a pronounced yellow and red colour cast. Some of the other items have a similar problem, which is a shame if they use white ribbon or yarn, because it changes the look quite a bit.

I think it might be that your PC monitor is actually the problem and that you may not need to alter the colour balance as much as you think.

Sam x

Lots to think about and test. Thanks everyone!

When you’re using a white tent or a white backdrop you’ll also get colour cast from the items that you’re photographing as the sides of the tent/backdrop will act a little bit like a reflective surface. This might well be why the colours of your images always appear to be changing

If you’re using your camera on automatic white balance mode and automatic exposure mode then it is going to struggle to get a good shot. It’s a bit confusing because you might think it should just do it ‘automatically’, but in reality the camera’s algorithms are set to even things out when there are a lot of different colours and light levels in the shot. So when you’re trying to take a photo of an object against a white background using automatic settings then the camera will overcompensate in all the wrong ways because it has simply not been designed to deal with shots like that.

If you don’t want to use software to correct your images later then the only other thing you can do is to spend more time adjusting the settings for your camera manually each time you take a shot. You can learn how to set the exposure manually which is just a matter of trial and error and as long as you are always using the same type of fixed light source will be the same every time you photograph. The more difficult thing is the white balance issue. You can get grey cards to help set up custom white balance levels each time you take a shot but this really only works well with neutral colours. There are a whole lot of other types of colour cards you can get to manually adjust the white balance depending on the colour of the items that you’re photographing. But it is just as much of a pain in the proverbial as it sounds.

I’m of the opinion that it’s easier to correct it later than it is to faff around with cards and such. But some software is better than others at white balance correction and you might have to be willing to fork out some ££s to get something that will do the job well. My favourite is Capture One. It cost a bit but it does a really good job and, now that I know how to use it (mostly), it’s fairly quick and easy to adjust shots. My absolute favourite feature is the ‘copy adjustments’ feature - so if I have a series of shots of the same item that all have the same colour issues I can ‘fix’ one picture and then copy the adjustments I made to all of the other shots of that item and it’s job done. :slight_smile:

Thank you! Very useful. I’ve got a basic old digital camera (nothing fancy, just a Kodak cx7530 Easyshare) and the Corel suite of graphics software. I’ve been twiddling with the colour balance in the software but am rarely happy. It hadn’t occurred to me that the items themselves would reflect off the sides of the tent…d’oh.

I’ll play around with the camera to at least see if I can get a better shot to start with and then focus on adjusting with the software. I’ve just looked at the camera and it does allow you to change the white balance - there’s Auto, Daylight. Tungsten and Fluorescent settings. I’ll work out which works best with the lights I’ve got. Thanks!

How do you calibrate the monitor Sam? I’m struggling with photo editing for this reason x

I’m using Windows 7, so some of the instructions might be a bit different if you have a more recent programme, but the way I do it is as follows:-

  1. Right click on your wallpaper from the main screen.
  2. You should get a box appear with a list of properties for setting up the screen. Click Screen Resolution from this list.
  3. This will connect you to a screen with options to alter various aspects of your screen appearance such as “landscape orientation” etc. There is a line of text highlighted in blue “advanced settings.” Click on this.
  4. A box pops up with a selection of tabs to choose from. Choose colour management.
  5. Click the colour management button on the tab which takes you to another pop up with a further selection of tabs. Select “Advanced.”
  6. Select the button entitled “calibrate display.” this button is “Administrator Only” so ensure you have administrator status.
  7. This takes you to a “wizard” that helps you through the display calibration process. It is helpful to have greyscale cards and a white sheet of paper to assess how your display is performing.

The way to get to screen 7 might be different for other versions of windows, but I imagine that the starting point is the same and you will be able to get to screen 7 from the starting point, right clicking on the wallpaper of your computer screen.

Hope this helps,

Sam x

1 Like

Thank you lovely! X

1 Like

I use an app called Snapseed to whiten the edges of my photographs - it’s brilliant - literally :slightly_smiling_face: