Mixed Lighting and The Good-Enough Photographer

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but laziness is invention’s weird uncle, roaring up to the house in a duct taped, primer-colored hot-rod and carrying a roll of fifties in one pocket and a hip flask of rye in the other. Laziness brought us remote controls and microwave ovens and automobiles that practically drive themselves.

I wanted to call this blog The Lazy Photographer, but the name was apparently taken during the period when I was too lazy to start the blog. By the way, I love that blogger’s tag line: “Just take the damn picture already!”

The amount of effort I’m willing to put into a photograph is directly proportionate to how much impact or income I desire from the end product, divided by my blood sugar level at the time of the shoot. Here is an example I use in my lighting workshop:

This photo demonstrates the effect of mixed lighting. In this case, a greenish-yellow tint appears where the overhead fluorescent lights overpowered my flash. Look, for example, at the section of wall behind the fellow critiquing photos. Where the light from my bounced flash drops off, the wall turns yellow. Mixed light is a common problem when shooting indoors, where one might encounter fluorescent lights, tungsten lights, window light, and electronic flash, all of which produce different colored light.

I offer two solutions for this photograph:

  1. While shooting, put a green gel on the flash and reset the camera’s white balance for fluorescent light. Thus, the flash and the fluorescent light will be the same color, and the camera will compensate for them.
  2. Or, quit looking at the background.

The end product was to be a very small photo in a club newsletter read by very few people, so I chose option two.

By the way, here’s the absolute easiest way to deal with mixed lighting or other weird colors:

In future entries, I’ll share stories about how hard I’m willing to work to find the easiest way to get a photo. Because sometimes I need a good photo, but usually I just need a good enough photo.

1 Comment

Filed under Lighting, Professional vs. Amateur

One response to “Mixed Lighting and The Good-Enough Photographer

  1. I like the color photo of the couple. The weird blue light on her face tells us that she’s facing upstage.

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