What’s The Best Way Of Minimizing Color Casts When Shooting With Small Flashes?

November 20th, 2016

reflectorPeggy in AL asks:

Does anyone use the Dem Flip It Cards to avoid color cast in shooting your real estate? I am finding in my area, many condos are full of colorful interiors.

I doubt that small articulating Flash reflectors are going to help you avoid picking up color casts from colored walls.

Here are some basics on color casts:

  1. The more ambient light you use the more color casts you’ll be picking up.
  2. Adding flash tends to dominate the other light sources in a room.
  3. If you want to avoid bouncing fashes directly off the wall you can use umbrellas or large white reflectors.
  4. Adjusting colors in post-processing (Lightroom) is usually quite effective at removing color casts.

Does anyone have a favorite method of dealing with colored walls?

Share this

9 Responses to “What’s The Best Way Of Minimizing Color Casts When Shooting With Small Flashes?”

  • when I first started do real estate photography, I used one flash on camera and bounced it backwards onto a 42″ white Photoflex reflector, for that exact reason. Since that time, beside using the white reflector, I have been using multiple lighting and try to find a white, or neutral wall, but I some times, when the walls are dark or weird colors, I use the reflector, and sometimes the white dome that is included with the flash to throw some natural flash into the room.
    Another idea which I have done and suggest to all of you having your own companies, is very inexpensive. I found a local embroidery shop who have made me pocketed Tee shirts with my company name embodied on them. I use the pocket to hold filters I remove, because I use a half ND filter to sometimes darken the sky when the sun is behind the house. I first had the shirts done in nice colors, but found, (by accident when I forgot my reflector) if I have them made in White, or a medium gray, I can sometimes bounce one of my lights off my shirt and don’t have to carry my reflector many times. Also, the shirts with your name or Logo gives you a very professional look to your clients. once the shirt company has your logo or name scanned into their computer, the cost of a Tee shirt with a pocket, is about $12-$14. I also have some beautiful Golf shirts made with my logo for meetings with clients. (cost was about $18-$22). it might sound strange to many, but it truly helped reflecting natural lighting into the room.

  • Shooting lights off allowing ambient light to fill in with the addition of your flash will result in clean whites. You can get away with shooting on auto white balance and adjusting in post or use a custom WB in camera that matches your scene. On my canon 6D 4800K WB works great and is usually my starting point. Lights off crew check in!

  • In addition to Eric’s suggestion, the issue as I understand it is that you are concerned that when you bounce the flash, any flash, off a wall that has color to it, that color will then saturate the light from the flash. Of course that will happen. The only way to prevent that is to have the flash bounce off a neutral color, preferably white or silver (which is a bit harsher) so no color is added to the flash’s light color. And you can use anything that you can find that you can bounce the flash off of. The difficulty in trying to shoot quickly is the time it takes to hand a sheet, set up a reflector etc. The fastest solution I can think of, since I have been doing this for years, is to use a white umbrella. The fabric ones will let light through as well as bounce light off. It does require a light stand, an adjustable umbrella head on the stand with a hole for the umbrella pole to go through with a locking hand twist nut and a shoe on top to hold your portable flash.

    With the fabric, it can let some light pass through, bounce off the wall and thus add a bit of color to the light. So you can get white umbrellas with black cloth backing to prevent this. Or you can buy a fabric umbrella with a silver reflectance that does the same and you get a bit more light bouncing into the room as a result. Or you can buy an inexpensive moonlight kit complete on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/LimoStudio-Monolight-Umbrella-Lighting-AGG710/dp/B005DFPC8C/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1479737717&sr=8-5&keywords=photo+flash+lighting+umbrellas With this you have th option not to use the umbrellas if you don’t want to and just use the flash.

  • Don’t turn on lightbulbs in the house. Then your only light sources are the flash and any daylight coming in through windows. Also, even the smaller flashes at full power are enough to over power a handful of incandescent bulbs in a room.

  • I bounce the (up to 9 per scene ) flashes off the walls and/or ceilings without any light modifiers causing the color cast to fill the room, I use my shudder speed and the flashes power levels to control the amount of ambient light causing color cast. My goal on site is to even out the light and color cast so in post the overall images white balancing is the fix. It is faster for me to adjust the whole room in post rather than tackling the color cast issues on site with light modifiers. The total time per job is the key in real estate photography. it takes less than 2 minutes to setup my all my flashes, take it out of the bag, pull off the flash cover, unfold the legs, and repeat. The light modifiers add too much time to setup and strike the job

  • I will use a umbrella(s), or do a direct flash in and put it on top of in color mode in PS.

  • I agree with others, using hand-held flash, auto WB, and PP color balance adjustments, together result in an acceptable level of color casts. I’m not a fan of the current style of removing ALL color cast — resulting in images that might as well be B&W with no color at all. They appear flat and featureless to me. IMHO, sunlight and the warmth of ambient lighting add realism and comfort to interior photos.

  • For a while used a bounce card or even held a disk behind to reflect off of, but found 42″ umbrellas as a shoot through much easier to maneuver. The trick is to choke it down to about half staff or with a UWA lens may actually outshoot the light coverage creating an umbrella shadow on the ceiling/walls. Smaller rooms like the red/burgundy bedroom I shot today, using the white door as the reflector. IT is close, without too much red saturation, and very easy to correct in post, particularly in Lightroom using the white baseboards. While more work – thus last resort – is there at no white sources for later use in adjustment, I pull out the SpyderCHECKR and take one with to determine the specific profile for that room. For dark colored walls that absorb light, I have been know to use shoot through umbrellas through the entire house.

    Good point on the monogramed shirt. I have gone to full black. After trying to remove my reflection out of windows and other reflective surfaces, when wearing multi color shirt, it only added smeared colors to the correction. With black, it is just adjusting shades of gray.

  • I use an on-camera Rouge Flash Bender which does a great job of adding soft white light to the room. In Lightroom my RE preset includes a HSL (Hue, Saturation, Lunimance) setting with Yellow Saturation -9 and Luminance +9. That brightens the room where there is tungsten light, while still adding some warmth to the room. Without the warmth from tungsten bulbs a room looks to my RE agents too stark/sterile. I don’t know why, but my issues with color casts largely went away when I switched from Canon to Sony. Plus I no longer have to deal with any Chromatic Aberrations.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply