Friday, April 16, 2010

How to get your polish swatch photos accurate - DSLR

I am very glad to see the positive response to my post about white balance settings yesterday! Honestly, I was a bit worried that some might take it the wrong way and tranlate it all into that I think everyone else sucks. That is definitely not so! In fact, I am often surprised over how many great photographers are out there in the nail blog world. Still, sharing is one of my favourite things in life, and I try to always live by the principle that the more we share with each other, the richer we will all become. Sharing knowledge and education is my very favourite. If we all took just a little time to share with each other things that we know, we all would know so much more! So, if you have special knowledge in some area, please share with your friends! It's the most democratic thing to do. :)

Anyway, today is the second part of the white balance settings guide. It will much resemble the first one, only, pictured is my DSLR camera, just to show that it is very easy to custom set those too. There was a time when only people with some kind of photographic education used SLR cameras, but those times are way gone. Now that many can afford a decent digital system camera, many do, but some still mostly use the automatic program. Well, switching into more customized photo options is very easy, so take a minute to figure it out!

My system camera isn't the latest model, but it should be similar in terms of what we are discussing anyway. The Canon Eos 400D is in the states known as Digital Rebel XTi, if I'm not mistaken.

Just like with the compact model, switch to a semi manual program. I use the one marked Av, to be able to adjust the aperture value, which gives me the possibility to get the sharpness depth I desire.

The back of the camera is very much like any, a bunch of buttons, with some grouped as navigation buttons.

Here we have a button marked with WB, which wasn't the case with the compact. Hence, it's easy to find. I believe Nikon cameras also have the white balance setting easily accessible like this. Since the DSLR cameras usually only have a bunch of technical parameters showing on the display, I have marked where you can see which white balance option is set. I have set the one appropriate for flash use.

When you press the WB button, you will find a menu similar to the one in the compact camera. With a DSLR, you will most likely have a few extra options, compared to the average compact model. In this case, there is the automatic, Daylight, Shadow, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, and custom.

The most obvious difference between my two cameras is that the DSLR has a Shadow WB setting. The compact doesn't, and then you're best off with the Cloudy option, if you're stuck behind a tree or a house. The DSLR also has a setting for Flash light. This one is mostly for studio use, but of course you can use it with the built-in flash on the camera. However, as we have all experienced once or twice, shooting with flash at a close range isn't always the best thing...

In the commets section of yesterday's post, Kajalpennan also pointed our attention towards the custom option, which in this case is the symbol to the far right in the menu. This option is used in a different way. Once you press "Set" with this option, you will be urged to point your camera to a white point, for automatic adjustion to the present lighting conditions. If you have time to experiment with this, you may reach a great outcome, however, using this setting is far from fool proof. Mostly, the presets are much easier to use for anyone who isn't experienced.

Last, here is my DSLR's chart of white balance previews. These photos are, just like the ones that were shot with my compact, all taken under the same lighting conditions. No one would guess yesterday at what those conditions actually were. Do you have a guess today, or do you think it is hard to tell the difference? One photo is supposed to be more accurate than the others, can you guess which one it is? :)

Daylight, Shadow, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Flash.

I hope this second post is helpful to someone out there, and once again, thank you for all your positive reactions to yesterday's post!

Swedish word of the day:
vitbalans -noun white balance


  1. I tried to follow...but I got lost somewhere in the middle. I suck. I only have directions for my camera in german language...and that's not the best thing. Ah, I'll keep sucking at taking photos.

  2. I'm with you Nihrida. My camera is all screwey and nothing like what was on the pix on the posts... ah, well, at least its not iPhone pix...

  3. Thanks for the tutorial!
    So when I go to change the white balance to Cloudy or Shade, it says I can do plus 1-3 or minus 1-3. What would you suggest I use?

  4. I awarded you :)

  5. thank you! these have been sooo much help!

  6. nihrida and Ange: Did you gals search the interwebZ for instructions in a language you understand? ;)

    Brooke: Oh, that is a good question. I have to admit I am not familiar with these kinds of settings. I only get to choose on a scale if I'm adjusting exposure, and perhaps the range of flash. However, if your lighting conditions are normal, you're probably best off neutral.

    amusedPolish: Thank you so much! <3

    Emma: I'm glad to be of help! :)

  7. I had kept this post bookmarked for when I had time to address the issue of my camera settings, and had to take said times when trying to swatch A-england Avalon. Well, thanks to your instructions, I actually did colour-accurate pictures of this beauty! Thank you so much!!


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