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Vijay Mewada's picture

Mixed lighting

Fellow Professionals.
Greetings.
This refers to my recent shoots of interior spaces. Capturing the same to fine tune my skills for exposure compositing, cleaning, focus stacking and such. Eventually aspiring to accept commercial appointments of architecture and interior shoots.

Particularly, having query for Lighting matters.
How to deal with mixed lighting condition.
1)Some spaces have CFL (6500 temp with a little green cast), LED (5200 temp) and few of warmer temperature spots at isolated corners. ALL together.
2) Images with both kept switched on gives visually confused frame.
3) if either of them switched off gives dark patches.
4) both switched off poses difficulties of exposure for lack of light insufficient ambient lighting.
5) presently having only one flash Godox V1. used the same But first it gives a mundane look without the ambient warmth and second it consumes a lot of photoshop time & expertise for each frame.

Inviting your creative input. Along with your images as appropriate. Sharing you views may help many others.
Thanks.
Vijay

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7 Comments

This is a very common problem and is "solved" in a variety of ways.None of which is necessarily fast.
In your list you overlooked the effect of window light also.
A simple example is a tungsten illuminated room with a window to a garden late in the day without direct sun. The room may be balanced for the ambient lighting but the window view is blue. That is most easily solved by creating a virtual copy in Lightroom and balancing that one for the window and then blending the layer with the tungsten balanced scene.
In a scene with multiple light sources you often have to contend with contrasty lighting and very different brightness ranges in the scene on top of different colors. When the predominant light is tungsten, I gel my strobes with CTS gels (not CTO) to get the majority of light in a tungsten zone. Then I make a series of brackets without flash. I then use flash to add accurate color to the scene and often paint the scene to get directional lighting.
In post, I blend the flash images and overlay an ambient exposure in luminosity mode. I reduce opacity on that layer as it is often way too much. I may also mask the layer to add the ambient feel back selectively.
As for the odd colored lights, I use a hue and saturation layer and brush on desaturation to the affected areas. I ay also make a color layer and brush on replacement color to eliminate color casts.
All this takes time.
For RE photographers this is possibly too time consuming for a low paying job. For that, many use an abbreviated version with files then sent off to a retoucher (cheap overseas one) to do the tedious work.
My method works for me pretty well but I am always looking to achieve better results.
As an aside, extensive testing has shown to me that using an 80B filter on your lens and a WB of daylight gives better results in tungsten lighting than setting the camera WB to tungsten as sensors are optimized for color reproduction at daylight WB and have a non linear response at the extremes of their WB settings.

Vijay Mewada's picture

Hi Indy Thomas. Appreciate your support. Will check and try out each of your expression. Thanks.

Hi Vijay, I see you are in Bangalore. I used to live in Mumbai back in the 70's and enjoyed the country immensely. Coincidentally, when I first started shooting interiors I learned how to use panoramic stitching with a 50mm lens from an Indian photographer who did beautiful work but on a limited budget. Thus he had to make do with his 50 whilst trying to capture an entire room.
All I can say is practice a lot and catch a few Youtube videos. Some are great some are not. But the price is right. ;)

Vijay Mewada's picture

Hi there. Well this is an interesting insight. capturing pano for landscape but never occurred to use the same for interiors. guess shall help for tight spaces. thanks again. cheers.

Vijay Mewada's picture

Hello. A quick check. Do you use colour chequer passport on location for setting WB and colour profile in post? Thanks.

Generally no. However on occasion I find myself in a house with crazy colors on the walls and few windows. In those situations I use a Macbeth color checker and click on the neutral patch to balance in post. That is my starting point. Note that if you accept plain neutral it is often too cold. I believe that Passport has some other WB patches that can balance the scene a bit warmer.
Also, there is no such thing as perfect color but only pleasing color. When there are elements that are important to the client for color accuracy, balance for that and adjust the rest of the scene to work well with the key element. Flash will give you better color than ambient in almost every instance. Ambient is polluted by the mixed lighting we are wrestling with in the first question but even if window light is the only light the colors of walls, carpets, other furniture will tint the various areas of the scene. Also, ambient has lost wavelengths and thus WB adjustments don't help as much as you might hope.

Vijay Mewada's picture

Thanks a lot for details. appreciated.