Advice for event shooting and processing the raw files

(Pat David) #21

I’d say that it might help to have a wb target shot in the various lighting situations you may encounter. What I mean is, usually an event will have a limited set of possible lights (assuming white lights mostly), tungsten, fluorescent, incandescence, in a few different temps. You can shoot a target under the main light sources in your area/event so you can use them as a baseline later on when processing.

It’ll also give you a range of values through which to adjust and mix things to compensate for the mixed scenario the subject may be in. Remember, the diffuser over the lens will only give you a WB for the light hitting the lens, and may not reflect what your subject is seeing cast on them.

Unfortunately, mixed lights are a real pain to balance and still have look natural - especially if they’re way different temps. I ran into this all the damn time shooting real estate. It finally made sense to start buying daylight balanced bulbs and replacing them in the fixtures if I wanted to have them on for shots.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to create two version of your image balanced for each of the discrete lights, and blend them afterwards in GIMP?

(Elle Stone) #22

This advice is something I gleaned from watching a youtube video make by thefrugalfilmmaker ( - I was actually looking for information on making a stand to hold some lights, and I don’t remember which video I was watching). I don’t make videos, but the frugalfilmmaker website ( and youtube channel have a lot of useful shooting tops and also ideas for diy equipment, that apply just as well to still shots as to videos.

The site also has a lot of useful ideas for figuring out how to make the most of your camera with the least amount of monetary input. For me photography is a hobby for which there is a limited budget, and so I think carefully about cost vs benefit of any given bit of equipment (diy or otherwise) that might, or might not, solve any given problem.

(Elle Stone) #23

A monopod held firmly and obviously in one hand as you walk about might even help clear a path past the trigger happy smart phone users. I don’t mean brandishing it like a weapon or anything, just that sometimes have a larger silhouette helps people realize that you are actually there.

(Elle Stone) #24

The whole concept of UniWB was developed in the context of DSLRs, to allow the option to expose as far to the right as possible without clipping the highlights (

So yes, if the goal is to expose to the right, based on things like the histogram that the camera shows, or the “zebras” that indicate blown highlights, then as far as I know even in today’s DSLRs the histogram and the zebras are always based on the jpeg that the camera would be saving, if you had asked the camera to save a jpeg. And the blown highlight indicators will vary depending on the picture style and also on the in-camera white balance settings.

Metering for middle gray is conceptually different from using the histogram or “zebras” to determine when the highlights of an image start to clip. And personally I’ve only ever owned and used one DSLR. And maybe I’ve completely misunderstood the question. But on my DSLR (the 2006-released Canon 400D) the metering was very much affected by the white balance.

According to this forum post: the “zebra” warnings on the mirrorless Sony A7ii are less sensitive to the white balance than are DSLRs.

I have a Sony A7 mirrorless camera (the original A7), and so I just did a quick experiment, setting up a scene with an approx. 4800K LED light source on one side and an incandescent light source on the other side, and photographed the Live View with a point and shoot, setting the white balance to several of the default settings (and keeping the picture style constant). Here’s the result:

I don’t have a modern DSLR to compare to the Sony A7. And I’m too lazy to dig out the Canon 400D and take similar photographs.


UniWB doesn’t affect the meter in the optical viewfinder, though. At least on my cameras.

What it affects is the white balance multipliers to make the JPEG histogram useful for evaluating clipping in-camera.

(Elle Stone) #26

You know, you are probably right. I think I’ll pull out the Canon 400D and check. I never used the meter because the meter never gave me useable information as my main concern was not blowing out the highlights in a scene.


I just checked with my 5D, the white balance doesn’t affect metering anywhere. I tested the range from cloudy to tungsten WB.

Interestingly, I always use the meter (center-weighted-average) and I just dial in exposure compensation based on my experience, and I get much more consistent results (with regards to not clipping accidentally) than on my live-view only GR. I know approximately what offset to use for any given subject, just by looking at the scene.

(Elle Stone) #28

I still haven’t found whatever closet or cupboard I stashed the 400D in. But thinking back (it’s been several years since I used that camera very much), I’m sure you are right, the white balance doesn’t affect metering. What it does affect, if I’m remembering correctly, is how much headroom there is above what is metered.

On my old point-and-shoot I used to use center spot to meter on the highlights, but the 400D didn’t have this option.

I rather like your approach of not relying on the histograms and zebras and such, and instead acquiring an idea of what offset from the meter’s reading to use for any given subject/scene.


Is it the Teflon or the format? Would a slab of it work better than tape?

Yes, I happen to have one but find myself constantly adjusting, twisting and tilting to get the right height and perspective, so much so that I lose focus and end up framing or exposing the scene incorrectly. The thing is that I am volunteer who happens to have a camera and so am shooting while doing something or on the go.

Smartphone photography is quick, simple, wide-angle and easy to share. This means that 10 people can take 100 shots with proximity and priority before I can take one, often when the scene is no longer interesting or the subjects have attention fatigue.

I can’t compete with that. It is too late to say “excuse me, could you do that again?” :sob:. It is hard to get a candid shot when it is no longer candid. When it comes to group photos, the subjects don’t even know who to look at :laughing:. What can I say? I am in the company of people who like to shoot whenever and wherever they like, which is cool and all, but it gets in the way of a shot that could be worth gifting and keeping.