Technique & Process: Task 2: Photoshop – Handling RAW’s – Grey/White cards and White Balance

11th February 2014

What were the aims of the activity?
The aims of the activity were to compare using JPEG files and RAW files and their different components. We then shot in JPEG & RAW and used a grey card and white card to set the custom white balance (in the studio) in camera. With the RAW files, we post processed them in Photoshop to correct any white balance issues that had arisen.
The in-camera process of setting the white balance just going on the menu, setting ‘custom white balance’, shooting the grey card and then shooting another image of the person to observe the correct white balance.

What did I get from doing this?
I learnt a lot of specifics doing this task. It showed me the difference between RAW and JPEG and when it’s appropriate to the situation to shoot in RAW, and when it’s not. Because RAW images require a lot more specific adjustments because they are the bare files. Whereas JPEGs are compressed files and therefore aren’t in need of the intricate and specific editing a RAW file does.
It also taught me that grey cards are better to measure the white balance because they were the ones that came out the best, whereas the readings from the white card (in camera) came out with an orange tint. If that’s the look someone is going for then that could work, however when wanting the correct balance for skin tone especially, it is the grey card that works best.

Did I fulfil my aims?
I feel as though I did learn a lot about the different files and how much control we have over our photos and how they look – and that is very empowering.


(JPEG) Grey & White Card difference (custom white balance set in camera):


Notice the difference in the skin tone –
The grey card white balance is pale and actually quite accurate to reality.
The white creates a golden tint – which would work if you were going for that look.

(RAW) Grey & White Card difference:


My eye view White Balance post processed in Photoshop:

CustomWhiteBalance1RESIZED CustomWhiteBalance2RESIZED CustomWhiteBalance3RESIZED

The photo of Georgia had a slight tint of  red when taken in RAW and from the Grey Card reading.
The head and torso photo of Jamie had a distinct green tint when taken in RAW from the white card reading.
The head and shoulder photo of Jamie had a slight orangey/yellow tint to it when taken from the white card reading.

I was able to finely tune and intricately edit the colour on each of these, because shooting in RAW enables even the slightest of colour alterations – because the file is not compressed, it is completely ‘open’ until the photographer decides to compress it (if needs be for the specific job).

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