Ask Dr. Bob - Correcting White Balance on JPEG Image

by Robert Whetton 14. August 2008 20:17
Hello, and welcome to another addition of Ask Dr.Bob.

Billy from Lampuck, West Kansas asks, "Dr. Stupid, Why do I have to go to School?", well Billy, that answer's simple... Your parents are really aliens, and when you go to School, they shed their human skins and breathe fire lint..

Okay.. anyway, I was on a forum earlier today and someone was asking about finding the Gray Point in a picture. So that got me thinking about creating a tutorial about white balancing a JPEG.

So first we take this Wedding photograph, notice that the colour balance is a little off, easy to fix if shot in RAW, but what do you do if you've shot JPEG?


Fear not, you can with a little work fix it! HOW!? I hear you cry.. well lets start.

First you'll need to go to your Layers Palette and select a Threshold Adjustment Layer. We're going to find the Black point in the Photo.

Once you've got the Adjustment dialogue up, slide the slider all the way to the left. Then slowly bring it back until you notice the black apearing. This is your Black Point. Hit Ok

You'll need to go to the Tools Palette and select the Color Sampler Tool, you do this by clicking and holding on the eye dropper tool to show the menu.

Then click on one of the black dots (you can zoom in if this helps you).

Next we're going to find the White Point. Double click on the Threshold Layer and slide the slider all the way to the right, then slowly bring it back to the left until the white starts to show again.

Again using the Color Sampler Tool, place a marker on a white dot.

Ok thats the easy steps taken care of.

Now, we're going to find the grey point of the image.
Hide the Threshold layer (click the eye next to the layer) and create a new layer below it. I called mine Gray.

We need to fill the layer with 50% black, the easiest way to do this is to use the Fill command from the Edit Menu



Once we have our 50% Black Layer, we need to change its mode to Difference in the Layers Palette.

You'll notice that your image changes to some psychedelic colours, but don't worry that's about to change. Show the Threshold Layer again (click the eye) and then double click on the layer. We're going to find the Gray Point!

Send the Slider all the way to the left again, and bring it back slowly until once more the black begins to show. This is your Gray Point!
Grab the Color Sampler Tool and click on a black dot.

We can now delete the 2 layers, they're no longer needed..


Okay, so now you're thinking what good is this to me? Well, we'll now make a new Adjustment Layer, so in the Layers Palette, select Curves Adjustment.

Wow. So what.. This is for adjusting the Shadow, Midtone and Highlight of a picture right? that's right, but you see those 3 eye droppers?

The first is Shadow. So go ahead and grab that and then click on the Sample labelled 1.

If you need to zoom in to help select the area, place your cursor over the area, then using the mouse wheel zoom into the area, click and then zoom back out.
Grab the Middle dropper, thats right this is the midtone (gray) dropper, so you'll need to select Sample 3.

Look at that, the image is starting to change its colours..
Last grab the right hand dropper, Highlight. Select Sample 2 and we're done!

Alot of steps.. but when all you have to work with is a JPEG, this will help save your neck..

The image is now ready for any sharpening etc. I just added a touch more light.


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Ripoff Photographers

by Robert Whetton 13. August 2008 23:35

Had to post about this..

I was talking to one of the Gig photographers I know in the area and he was saying how there was a local Wedding Photographers looking for 2nd shooters and he had applied for a position and was waiting to hear back. So when I got off the phone I sent an e-mail to the company saying that I had heard they were after 2nd shooters, and shortly after sending it I received a mail saying that this was true and they were always on the look out for 2nd's.

So the next day I received a phone call from the guy asking how much experience I have in wedding photography, so I explained that I've shot as the main tog and as a 2nd. He wanted to know what kit I owned so I told him that I shoot with Canon Bodies and a mixture of fast Tamron and Sigma glass. He seemed happy enough with that, he then explained how he paid and said he had a wedding on Saturday and was I interested? I don't have anything on Saturday so I said that I was. Ok, he said I'll e-mail you the information and said bye.

So about 30 minutes later I receive a mail and its got the website for the venue, and that I was to turn up 1 hour before and stay until the first dance.. That was it.. that was all the information he sent.. I didn't really expect that little information about a wedding. It also sounded like I was going to be the Main shooter at the event, so I mailed him back asking who the main shooter was for the wedding, he replied I was the main shooter..

WOW! he was expecting me to turn up at the venue without a clue of what the itinerary of the day was! unbelievable.. so I mailed him back with a load of questions, what was the name of the Bride and Groom, were they happy with me shooting their day (having never met them before), how many people where there, what group shots did they want etc. I also said did he expect me to shoot the day with 2nd photographers pay? The e-mail I got back was "I will call you later", well later didn't come until this morning (Wednesday).

The conversation went something along the lines of - "Hi Rob, its a basic wedding, there is photography allowed during the Ceremony, you just need to turn up, shoot some formal's, some reportage and candid style photos and stay until the last dance. Burn the JPEGs and send them in."

So I asked him who the Bride and Groom were, he didn't know, I said that surely he'd met them? He said that the Brides mother had booked the day, and the contract was with her. So I asked if he had a contract? Yes the contract was with the Mother of the bride, Doesn't that have the name of the Bride and Groom on it, their contact details? Nope, and the mother is very hard to understand.

"Look do you want to shoot this wedding or not" he said. Having thought about this since the e-mails yesterday, I wasn't happy going to a wedding without first talking to the couple, knowing their names, how many people there were, all the usual stuff that we ask when we book a wedding etc.

So my answer? "Sorry I can't go to a Wedding without knowing at least some details, I'm not happy with this, I can't believe that you haven't got all the information needed.."

"Yeah well I have over 100 Wedding Bookings a year, they sign up on the website, I send off the Contract and Information Sheet and that's all I need. Look are you going to shoot this wedding or not?"

"No, Sorry"

"Right, Bye" *hangs up*

I just can't believe that this guy operates like this, looking at his site you can see that no attention has been given to 80% of the photographs. He's paying peanuts for Photographers to cover a Wedding as a main shooter without giving them full information! Leaves me speechless.. Its these photographers that give the rest of us a bad rep..

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Photography | Wedding Photography

Save that Wedding Shot!

by Robert Whetton 8. August 2008 11:09
Scottish Photographer JJ of Perfect Expressions came to me last week and asked me to help him get out of a tight squeeze with a photo he had taken thinking he'd be able to do the job himself, but after he and his assistant had tried, they asked me to step in.

What did I have to do? well take a look at this photograph

That's right there's a huge bin in the way! oh and a grumpy woman in the top left who was asked nicely to move for the photo, but refused..

So JJ asked if I could remove both, an impossible task you say? well check it out now!
Wedding shot saved by Robert Whetton
I'm totally amazed at the results and i simply cannot thank you enough.
John (Perfect Expressions)

About Me

Robert Whetton
Dorset Photographer

Dorset Events Photographer in the UK. Portraits, Weddings, Events, Gigs, Sports and Photo Re-Touching.
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