Saving Images with Monochrome

balance sources pose temperature separation Simon Q. Walden,, sqw, FilmPhoto, photography


Sometimes you cannot achieve what you want to. In this image of Tillie posed within a corridor, I really wanted a colour shot. But, there were multiple different artificial light sources and there was no practical way of creating a good white balance.

There is sunlight to the front, one type of bulb in the chandelier at the top, then different types of lighting at the end of the corridor. It all looked horrible in colour.

However, converting to monochrome completely removes any colour balance issues and is a really simple and quick to fix to a very difficult problem.


The arched pose curving across the strong, straight lines in this image work really well together. The curves and lines are only part of it - it is the fact the pose joins the two sides is important, otherwise it could easily become a picture of two separate halves.

Despite the relatively odd shape, the pose leaves lots of curves that are definitely still feminine in form.

The clear separation of the arms is important, as is the separation between the face and arms. Notice how locally there is a very strong send of contrast around the face.


You can quickly flip the standard white balance settings on your camera, while they may not be perfect on any one, you should be able to quickly get a sense that one is much better than any other option.

You can then choose to shoot in RAW, which postpones the final decision, or shoot with a close white balance, or create a custom white balance. In this case, none of those options would work because there was no consistent colour temperature in the image.

If the image was vital then the answer would have been to balance all the light sources to a consistent colour temperature. Since the chandelier would have been hardest to fix then I would have used that as my starting point. Used filters/gels or additional lighting to balance out the other light sources.

balance sources pose temperature separation Simon Q. Walden,, sqw, FilmPhoto, photography

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