While I will admit that buying a kit of white balance cards is extremely affordable (around $10) - nothing beats free. The guys over at Knick-Knack wrote up an article recently sharing their experience on how they built a dependable kit for themselves that did not cost them a penny. Read on to learn how they did it.
Many photographers are comfortable shooting with their camera on Auto White Balance, but once you learn how to correctly balance the color in camera you will find that the amount of time you save in post production is incredible. In the recently released Fstoppers video, "How to Become a Professional Commercial Wedding Photographer" Patrick Hall talks about White Balance in the first chapter and how important it is to get it right in the camera as well as use it to set the mood of your photos. In the video he gives some great tips with regard to this.
When out shooting I prefer to use the Kelvin custom temperature setting in the camera to try and dial my white balance as exact as possible. Over the years I have got so accustomed to doing it that most of the time I can dial it in within one or two shots. But even so, there are occasions when the light temperature is difficult to read or if you are just learning the ropes and need some help, a set of white balance cards can be handy. By shooting one shot holding the white balance card, you can use the eye dropper in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw to click on the card telling the program this should be your neutral gray color thereby changing the white balance of the rest of the picture to match with that. As I mentioned in the introduction the white balance kits are sold typically between $10-$30. But if you enjoy free.... here's another option that works just about as well.
WilsonArt Contract is a company that provides all different kinds of laminate surfaces and decorative metals for use in retail and industrial spaces. In fact if you are in the middle of building out a studio they would be a great place to check out. On their site you can choose different color sample chip cards and they will ship them to you at no cost. The guys over at Knick-Knack ran some tests and discovered that the following card samples are the closest match for your own white balance kit set.
Neutral Gray - North Sea D90-60
White - Designer White - D354-60
Black - Black 1595-60
If you take advantage of this opportunity that WilsonArt is offering on their site please consider using them for additional services and spread their name to others you know that might benefit from the products they offer on their website.
Thank you to photographer Michael Sweeney for sharing this tip with me.
[Via Knick Knack]