Following on from another interior photography commission from Karen Walker Design in a previous Journal upload. In that post, I spoke about using a colour temperature meter. I didn’t shoot any Behing the Scenes on Karen’s last interior, but like London buses, I didn’t have to wait long before another interior project came along. This one was in Grimsby, but it gave me the chance to post this upload!

The meter in the image is a Gossen Colormaster 3F. I’ve had this for over 20 years and it was a essential piece of equipment when creating architectural interiors and exteriors on large format transparency film. When we all turned to digital capture, a colour meter was in effect a redundant piece of expensive kit, until two things happened. One. Quite a while ago I received a commission from a company that had tried other photographers and were dissapointed with the service they were providing. Looking at the images, the colour balance/consistancy was a big part of the problem. I realised it could be solved with carefully mixing and matching the different lighting temperatures of the subject with lighting filters on the lights (wether they be flash/practicals/daylight), a custom white balance set on camera and a custom colour profile created for Adobe Lightroom. Two. We started to create short films. It’s far easier to judge the white balance  with the meter rather than try and change it in the editing process! So the meter had found a new lease of life.

In a left to right fashion, the images below show: Gossen Colormaster 3F on top of filter case with very important Blu Tac (don’t leave home without it!). The same meter with filter offset tables. Next two images, Nikon D800e with 24mm PCE lens on an iShoot rig. Meter measuring the ambient temperature in a room. Lee Studio Plus filters for lights, I’ve loads of these, in packs like this and large rolls. Meter measuring the temperature of a bed side lamp. Godox 360 (a fantastic location flash unit) with a quarter warm over to match the custom white balance set on the camera.

This might sound like a bit “old school” and over the top and all this can be ‘corrected’ in post production. Right? I actually don’t think that’s true. Surely it’s better to get it right first time. Is that not what in part, the job is all about?


Colour temperature