I’ve recently acquired an EOS M camera, converted (590nm) for infrared photography and I’m having some issues working out how to adapt my workflow to get consistent results.
Basically, I’d like to capture photographs exposed with a reasonable white-balance for producing false-colour images, exposed as far to the right (ETTR) as possible, using the in-camera histogram. I’ve done a bit of googling and the advice is varied.
For setting white balance, most sites suggest using ‘green foliage’, ‘grass’ or, occasionally, a grey card (particularly for the 590nm filter, presumably because this includes some visible light). Most sites suggest that I don’t need to worry about setting white balance if I’m processing raw files (which I am).
In my first session with the IR camera, I therefore took little care to get a good White Balance setting (assuming I could fix it later). Every shot had a seemingly-well-exposed histogram with no blinkies and I thought I had a job well done.
When I got home, though, I was in for a bit of a surprise - on importing the images into darktable, pretty much all of my images were showing as overexposed (using the raw overexposed indicator).
The conclusion I came to is that white balance is important even when shooting raw - namely for getting an accurate in-camera histogram. As I understand it, the in-camera histogram is based on jpeg output, which ‘bakes in’ the White Balance. In my non-IR workflow I’m used to using the in-camera histogram and assuming that if I do a histogram pushed to the right (and ‘blinkies’ showing overexposure), I still have a little potential leeway, because the raw file will often still be well exposed.
The opposite appears to be true for infrared.
Next shoot I took care to set my White Balance from a patch of grass and, though I got a more accurate exposure, I was still getting overexposed shots, despite the histogram telling me all was well.
So, to the nub of my question - does anyone have a consistent method to get a good white balance from which I can get (a) more accurate histograms; and (b) good false-colour images? Ideally, given that I mostly shoot in an urban setting (in winter at the moment), one that doesn’t involve me hunting about for greenery!
I expect it’s possible that (a) and (b) have different answers and I might end up taking two WB shots - one for exposure and one for post-processing.