Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quilt Photography Workshop - Color

For October/November, the challenge for the Quilt Photography Workshop was to learn about and work with white balance to get accurate colors in your photos.  In the challenge post, I suggested starting by learning how to work with the white balance presets on your camera and then eventually learning how to use the custom white balance setting.

Right after posting, I was so happy to receive an email from Erica offering to write a post about how to do just that!  You should definitely click over and read Erica's post - her explanations and instructions are so clear.  After reading her post, I was immediately able to start using custom white balance settings on my Canon.  Thanks Erica!

I started my challenge by setting the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed and then varying nothing but the white balance -  using both the presets and custom setting - as in the photo above.

That worked fine for the first fabrics but then when I was taking photos of this quilt top (concentrating on the reds and pinks), I couldn't figure out how to get the color right in the bike path print - it is dark pink but it kept looking red.  These photos were taken inside during the day and there was a large window behind the quilt top and a large window to the right of it.  I then moved and stood between the quilt top and the window so there was a window in front of the fabric (behind me) and one to the left of it and the fabric finally looked like the dark pink it actually is.  Well, at least it finally looked that way on my computer screen but as someone wrote in a comment on the challenge post, what looks like dark pink on my screen might still look red on yours!  

So, for me, I really just look at white balance as part of the big puzzle - that you have to get the right combination of aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and white balance.  Not to mention composition!  I know that sounds like a lot of work per photo and I can see why it would be tempting to switch to manual but I really think it gets easier over time.  Once you know how it all works, it is easy to change the settings to get the shot you want.  

The next link up won't be until January but I hope everyone plans on taking lots of photos over the next couple of months.  I'll write more about it in a different post but the next challenge will be all about the details.  So, I encourage you to get lots of close-ups of your upcoming projects - we'll want to see the quilting details, the binding, the intricate piecing!  And either as part of that challenge or for a future challenge, I want to work on composition again so maybe think about that when you are taking photos - especially if you are making lots of holiday gifts and you have holiday decorations around to include in the photos.  

Okay, your turn - let's see what you did for this month's white balance challenge.

If you are sewing blogger who wants to participate in the Quilt Photography Workshop, please add your link here to your post about the this month's challenge. Please do not link to posts on other topics. Please visit as many of the other links as you can since that is how we'll all be learning, right?!?! At the very least, visit the three bloggers who linked up before you. When the link tool asks for your name, instead write what you time you usually go to sleep at night.

I'll leave the link up open until next Sunday so make sure to come back so you can see everyone who joins in.

And please link to this post either with a text link or using the button in my sidebar to let people know about it. Thanks!


  1. I'm glad it helped and thanks for the link! There is definitely some lighting that even custom white balance can't cure. There was the lamp in our old place that had the most awful orange lighting and no matter what the color was always wonky. But the color looks pink on my monitor so it looks like you got it :)

  2. This is all so new and interesting to me - thanks for the encouragement to learn more about my camera and to improve my photo-taking.

  3. Thanks for this. My photos are always bad! the subject seems great on the camera screen but when I take the picture, the light is all wrong. I will experiment with the white balance thing.

    I have also read that keeping to one source of light that comes sideways helps.

    I think you have nailed the technique here, the pictures look great, I can "feel" the textures and colours.

  4. I'm getting new camera for Christmas so I'll be trying your tips next year :-)

  5. Thanks for bringing white balance to my attention and for sending me over to Erica. I've learned a lot this afternoon.

  6. Hmm, this sounds like something I need to do. I will check out Erica's post tonight or tomorrow. I'm just trying to catch up on reading blogs right now. It's been a crazy week!

  7. Sorry I missed out on posting this time. I'll get my act together for the January one :) Great tips on white balance and thanks for posting a link to Erica's post on custom white balance!

  8. the holidays and my Christmas make list were just too much to let me participate this time, beth! sorry. =( I will definitely check out the link to Erica's post, though. thank you!


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