April 6, 2015

How to Deal With Color Casts in Your Natural Light

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This past weekend when we were shooting a wedding in Texas, I posted an Instagram about our set up for dealing with color casts in the natural light and it got a huge response! We had a ton of people ask to see the after, so we thought we would not only post that but also talk a little bit more about the challenge and what we did to fix it!

So the first thing I’ll tell you is that this couple we were shooting for, Maria & Sergio, had put together a very classic, elegant day (in true #justinandmarybrides fashion!) Everything from their attire to the venue to what they were looking for in their photography was classic, iconic, elegance. And every other part of the day fit with that theme, so we wanted to make sure that the getting ready details (even though those were taking place in more of a cabin/rustic feel) still fit the theme of the whole day too.

The light really wasn’t there inside the cabin, so I took the details out on the porch where there was (what looked like) some really pretty light pouring in. I thought we were going to be all setuntil I started shooting. And then I realized that all that gorgeous light that was pouring in was tinted green from the botanical gardens outside all around the porch. We’ve seen this before a bunch of times when we’ve been shooting in a tropical location, in the woods, or when there was a big enough back yard. Pretty much anywhere that there is a lot of green! Add to that, that it was coming in and mixing with the warm/red tones of the cabin, so we had green in the highlights and red in the shadows. In other words, a mixed light super challenge to say the least! Here is what we were getting.

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Besides all the mixed color, we also had another problem in that light was coming in from both the left and the right which was eliminating a lot of our dimension. So what we decided to do, was to bring our flash in from the right and set up a “shadow wall” with our reflector on the left. So now our light was coming from just one direction. For this set up we used the Profoto B1 with the 2×3′ OCF soft box. We went with the larger soft box to mimic window light. (**Note that we would normally not tilt the soft box down like this , but keep it straight up and down to be more like a window. Our stand was just too high at the minimum height here to be able to do that). But also note that you could get a very similar result with a flash speed light behind an umbrella if that’s all you have right now!

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We wanted to get rid of a lot of that ambient light, so we used our settings at 1/200, ISO 100 and even stopped down to f 2.0 to cut a lot of that out. Then we used our flash at a low power, keeping the soft box nice and close to give a softer light. And what we end up with is nice clean light, that feels soft like natural light! (**Note that we also didn’t have a good chair to shoot on, so a curtain makes a great surface in a pinch!)

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We always say to people that a One Light Set Up (and a working knowledge of it) is not a luxury, but necessity for a wedding photographer. Because we run into situations at pretty much every wedding we do where we need it for something at some point in the day. Here was a case of a sunny day with tons of natural light, and we still needed to break it out to create the most beautiful image possible for our couple! I love that it’s just one more way that we can serve them & tell their story in the most beautiful way possible!

As always, we hope that helped! Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions!

xo
M:)

  1. katelyn james

    This is awesome!!! Those shiny Jimmy Choos are hard to shoot!!

  2. Jason

    Great post Mary! So you would normally shoot this set up at 1.4? Couldn’t you have stayed at 1.4 and just gone to hss on the profoto to kill any ambient light?

  3. admin

    @Jason Good question! We don’t really like to shoot with high speed sync because of the amount of flash power you have to use (8.0 on Profoto)….it starts to look really fake & not soft & natural like this shot. Plus we liked picking up just a little more of the back of the shoe at f 2.0

  4. Stephanie

    I’m curious if you are just putting your white balance on flash or doing a target or expodisc?

  5. Jason

    Interesting. I assumed Hss on the profoto was just like a regular hot shoe flash in that a larger and larger amount of flash power is lost as the shutter speed increases, allowing any aperture desired.

  6. Mary Marantz

    @Jason nope, not in this case!

  7. René Tate

    BRILLIANT!! What Katelyn said.

  8. Amanda Manupella

    Great post!

  9. admin

    @Stephanie, I just dialed in my white balance with Kelvin!

  10. Maria

    How did you get your profoto collapsible reflector mounted on the light stand?

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