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  1. #1

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    [RA4] nailing the colour on a wedding dress

    This is really just to ask if anyone has tips or advice.

    I shot my cousin's wedding during the summer and got a pro lab to make little 6x4 proof prints which I gave to the couple. They never asked for reprints so either they're happy with little pictures or they're enlarging via a flat-bed scanner. Whatever, I don't mind.

    I thought I'd have a go at hand printing a formal bride & groom shot to challenge my colour printing skills.

    I can get the skin tones looking nice and the surrounding grass looking accurate easily enough, but the dress has a very (very) slight blue cast in the shadows. If I filter for this the groom's face goes green or the grass looks parched.

    Is this a typical challenge for wedding photogs or is it my process?

    Fuji 400H (35mm)
    Kodak Ektacolor Edge paper
    Fotospeed 'mono' RA4 kit (at 16 degrees)

    I was thinking (A) the chemistry is too cold, or (B) the slight blue hue is natural and a consequence of the light falling on the dress (overcast day).


    Steve.

  2. #2

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    Steve,

    1. 16ºC is probably too cold, although 20ºC should work according to Photo Engineer (using the Kodak Ektacolor kits). I thought you had a Nova heated tank?

    2. Why use the 'Edge' paper? Supra Endura is still available.

    Have you tried printing a negative in which the colour balance would be more or less noticeable?

    Try Ag Photographic for supplies: www.ag-photographic.co.uk

    Tom

  3. #3

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    Tom,

    1, I have an unheated Nova processor.
    2, I got a good deal on two rolls of Edge from Jessops and I'm using it to practice on.

    Other negs are fine at this temperature - but they don't have large white wedding dresses in them.
    I have some Endura and I suppose I could try printing on that to see if it's any different.

  4. #4
    hka
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    In my opinion is option B the one who causes this problem.
    harry

    Release, the best you can do...

  5. #5

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    Some more information regarding 'B':

    It was July 4th in the afternoon around 2pm.
    This was the day the UK 'summer' finished - the sun of May and June gave way to showers that day which lasted into September.
    It had been drizzling earlier - the clouds were mostly white but had some grey in them.

  6. #6
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    I also would think option B is the main culprit.

    When shooting colour negative and encountering those conditions, and if at all possible, I put a mild warming filter on at the least.

    My preference is an 81C which takes 2/3 of a stop, but adds about 400 Kelvin in warmth.

    You then balance for a correct, or as near as correct skin tone on the bride, then let all of the other colours fall where they do. Generally you will find that you may end up with a very, very slight warm cast overall.

    I've always found that if you are going to have a cast, then have a minimum warm cast in which most Caucasian people will have the slightest of sun-tan looks.

    By doing this you often can eliminate most of the blue shadow cast. At worst, you will have a very tiny blue cast.

    This comes with experience, you are on the learning curve right now, as we all are.

    Mick.

  7. #7

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    Thanks, Mick. Some good tips there.

    Another factor making this a challenge was that the bride was blonde with a normal suntan look for a white skinned person but the groom is 50% West Indian so has a darker complexion. I found his face went greenish quite easily.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by perkeleellinen View Post
    I can get the skin tones looking nice and the surrounding grass looking accurate easily enough, but the dress has a very (very) slight blue cast in the shadows. If I filter for this the groom's face goes green or the grass looks parched.

    Steve.
    I'll go with C.

    It is very possible it's the dress itself.

    Many fabrics and even laundry soaps are infused with brighteners. These brighteners make fabrics look "whiter" to our eyes instead of looking "yellow and old", it is my understanding that these brighteners lean toward the blue/UV end of the spectrum and that can skew the photographic color balance of the fabric in relation to the rest of the picture.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    I'll go with C.
    Aah, very interesting.

  10. #10
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    For this problem you can dodge and burn slightly with a filter that will absorbe the unwanted colour In this case the blue/cyan dress. You do not have to do if for the whole exposure , but with practice a nice balance can be obtained.
    This is a very common problem when shooting weddings in open shade.

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