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Seeking the Grey-or Grey-ish

Generally, it’s a great idea to shoot with a grey card on specific shoot, but in actuality there will be times when you will forget to shoot the card in a scenario, or where the card will not be with you at all. In instances like this, getting close will give you a much better chance to fine-tune any white balance adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw.

Take for example this picture that I took of my friend Kena in Chicago (see Figure 9). This is a perfect example of not checking the white balance that I have set on my camera, and paying for it with an overly yellow image. If I shot this in RAW, changing it is as easy as clicking on the White Balance drop-down. But what if I didn’t what would I do?

Figure 9

Figure 9 An Uncorrected Color Image in Camera Raw

Whenever I need to make a white balance adjustment in this fashion, I always quickly look through the image that I am working on. Zooming in and zooming out, I look for something that, at the very least, resembles a grey color. While I would prefer to have an 18% in this instance, any grey will do for me. In this case, this was shot inside of a freight elevator, covered in diamond plate.

Highly reflective, I couldn’t really count on the sides of the wall, but at the very top of the image there was a solid grey piece of metal-perfect for me to sample a color (see Figure 10). Again, clicking on the White Balance eyedropper, I clicked on the patch of metal at the top of the elevator, and automatically the color was adjusted to its proper temperature and tint (see Figure 11).

Figure 10

Figure 10 Sampling color in Camera Raw

Figure 11

Figure 11 The corrected image

While this process may not get you the most accurate color, it’s always better to have it than not in this case. Scan for the grey in the image-you’ll be surprised of the results.

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