Quick Tip Wednesday – Use a Gray Card

How many times have you been shooting nature or wildlife images where the colors look great on your camera’s LCD but seem a little off in Lightroom? You can spend hours tweaking the white balance and HSL sliders in Lightroom’s develop module trying to get your on-screen image to look like you remember it or you can buy a WhiBal gray card from the folks at RawWorkflow.com and solve this problem in just a few seconds.

Using a Gray Card

Fixing your white balance in Lightroom using a WhiBal gray card is as simple as clicking the White Balance Selector tool (eye-dropper) in the “Basic” panel of the “Develop Module” and then clicking on the neutral gray area of the WhiBal gray card in your image. The Temp and Tint sliders in the Basic panel will adjust to make the selected color neutral, resulting in the correct white balance for these lighting conditions. The final step is to “sync” the white balance for all the other images taken in the same lighting conditions.

Product Photography – Pair of Aces

I spent most of the weekend setting up and trying different lighting schemes for some of the small products I’ll be shooting in the next few weeks. Even something as seemingly simple as shooting a “still life” in a studio takes more gear than you’d think at first glance, especially if you want the images to “pop”.

One piece of gear thats become essential when shooting with small strobes is the Justin Clamp or the 175F Bogen – Manfrotto Spring Grip Clamp with Attached Flash Shoe if you prefer. Designed by Joe McNally and Bogen’s Justin Staley, its become the de-facto standard for mounting a hot-shoe flash in a studio or on location. Although not an inexpensive item at a little over $50, it sure beats using gaffer tape to position your flashes in unusual places during a shoot. For my products shots I used it as an inexpensive boom to position the main light source above and and slightly in front of the products being photographed.

Pair of Aces

Pair of Aces
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 50D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/16 for 0.7 seconds at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 using Nik Software’s Viveza. Click on the image above for a larger version.

The lighting setup for this shot was fairly simple using a Lastolite Cubelite and two Canon 580EX II Speedlites. One 580EX II Speedlite was positioned above and and slightly in front of the subject and the other was positioned to the right. A single reflector directly left of the subject was used to add fill where needed. All exposure ratio magic was done wirelessly using Canon’s E-TTL II sorcery. Later this week I’ll post more about this with photos of the actual setup and the flash settings used.