(Perfectly) White Balanced Portrait Photos of Cynthia at River Hongbao

Cynthia loves this picture the most, not sure why ...

Though I have received one good suggestion from a good friend of mine that I shall host my photo albums elsewhere until I am good enough to have them hosted here in my website, I thought it is good to show y’all my journey thus far.  Besides, I treasure constructive feedback from the seasoned photographers on areas that I can immediately improve upon.

Almost immediately.  As I do have to wait for the White Balance Reference Card to arrive from US.

One of the (many) tips my (mentor) Mathew has shared with me is that the white balancing is off in my photos.  What it really means (I think) is that the white color is not quite white from the photos I publish.  Fair enough.  Getting the properly balanced white color in digital photography can be a challenge under different lighting conditions.

Especially at the River Hongbao where there were lots of yellow and red and strange color cast onto the lovely face of my model.

You know, it took me a while to convince Cynthia to be my model at the Floating Platform.  I was there just days before this shooting session doing a media coverage for the opening ceremony.  I know all the angles and backdrop.  And I desperately needed a model to fulfill my dream.  Below are the photos taken to demonstrate the white balancing effect.  For high quality photos, visit my photography page.

This is extreme white balancing in action.  All but one photo showcased above or in my photography sub-site are individually white balanced.  See if you can tell which one is the odd one out.  Most of them are shot as-it-is with standard touch-up.  A rare few I have used a film effect to accentuate a certain artistic viewpoint.

Here is how I did it.  Because it was pretty crowded, I have to be creative in finding a right spot to take photo.  Having a wide angle lens help because the distance between my camera on tripod and my model can be pretty close.  Noticing the direction of the human traffic helps too.  Need not to say, it is better to align with the flow and not perpendicular from it.  The last thing I want is to have someone knocks onto my tripod or get in between my camera and my model accidentally.

Composition with tripod is hard.  Some say that shots with tripod is pretty boring.  It is of course not as flexible as hand held composition.  But hey, if I want to expose the photo for up to 1/2 second, I don’t really have much choice, do I?  I would take one photo with Cynthia posing in front of the camera and another one with her holding a White Balance Reference Card close to her face.  That latter photo I would use to take the reading for white balancing.  Extreme white balancing in action, why?  Because I did it for every photo – one for real and one for the card.  I keep the first one and throw away the second one.

I reckon I can still do a much better job with better flash lock for off-centered composition and perhaps a faster shutter speed (1/8 sec or faster?) compensated with higher ISO sensitivity.  Oh well, till the next time I guess.

PS. This is not a sponsored post on WhiBal.

Related Links: High Quality Photo Album of This Entry, WhiBal Card (external link)

10 responses to “(Perfectly) White Balanced Portrait Photos of Cynthia at River Hongbao”

  1. Increasing your shutter will definitely lower the exposure of your background. Play with your ISO to help you balance the exposure with higher shutter.
    Don’t worry about your subject, and yes, you need to use FV to ensure your subject is correctly exposured by your flash (FV can only be used in Spot metering/center weighted). Don’t use your shutter/ISO/Aperture to expose your subject, but your flash.

    Most of flash events photography, no tripod is used, especially if you are doing what you are doing. Unless you want to correctly expose your background and its sharp, and a very patient subject… 😛

    From your photos, in fact, increasing your shutter will be ok, lowering the exposure of your background is ok as there seems to be a lot of highlights in your background anyway. Your subject should be main, and not be overwhelmed by the surroundings..

    Nice try on your Whibal, the skin tone is finally getting to where it is suppose to be.. keep it up!

  2. Mathew – Hey, thanks bro for the tips. It is good that you drop it here cuz I tend to lose all your valuable comments in my mailbox … lol.

    Yes, I need a very patience subject … ha ha ha. So many times I was telling Cynthia, “Erm … you have moved!”. And she would give me a face and pose again … lol.

    Ah … FV can only be used under those circumstances. I didn’t know. Anyway I use the 3rd metering method most of the time except for some special shots.

    I used tripod because I often wonder what I would see if I expose the photo longer than I can hand held. And yes, the tip on WhiBal is excellent. Now I can’t live without!

  3. Very nice! I much prefer this perfectly white-balanced skin tone to the initial saturated/warmed-up colors you used when you started photography. I have yet to use my white balance card btw 😛

  4. Wahhh! Lovely! Cynthia looks radiant in these photos.

    That night when you text me, I was talking to Peggy in the refreshment room. Glad you had a wonderful time taking such stunning photos.

    My new camera cannot compare. *sob sob*

  5. woah.. wil, these are all so chim… still must use card to see whether white or not… haha

    well, i still stuck in auto and “A” mode… shot some nice photo over at zoo… will be posting it and send u a mail for some comment from u wil…

    now i reading a DSLR book… also very chim… still not very sure how to use the shutter speed, ISO and Apeture to their max capabilites in the manual mode…

  6. Darkspore – Ya, I guess I could still add those artistic effects. But at least on the photos that are nicely balanced.

    Try it dude. You will love that WhiBal.

  7. ECL – Ah, should have popped by the press conference room and said hi!

    Yours is a pretty decent camera nevertheless, right? 🙂

    Get the job done lah.

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