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05-17-2009, 10:00 AM   #1
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Help with candle/lighter flame photography?

I have a K10D and am trying to photograph candle light, or a cigarette lighter flame but can't get the desired results. I use a tripod, and no flash of course. ALL the pics I take render the flame as a "white" flame, instead of the yellowish tint I desire. I've tried from slow (0.5s) to fast (200) shutter speeds, and varying f/stops (f4.0-f11), and varying ISO (200-1600). I also used Auto, Shady, Cloudy, white balance. I've google on tips to see suggestions, and those pages render the flame white also. Any ideas?

05-17-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
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Post a sample of what you're talking about.
05-17-2009, 10:49 AM   #3
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I'd like to capture the yellowish tint like in this pic.

Picture of Five candles burning 1779147 - Search Stock Photography, Photos, Images, and Photo Clipart - 1779147.jpg. The rest of the pics on the same page Candle light Stock Photo Images. 6316 Candle light royalty free pictures and photos available to download from over 100 stock photography brands. all have a whitish flame.
05-17-2009, 10:54 AM   #4
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Still on the same site, I'm trying to capture this type of shot.
Stock Photograph of Candle k0506129 - Search Stock Photography, Photos, Images, and Photo Clip Art - k0506129.jpg

05-17-2009, 11:22 AM   #5
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Composite?

QuoteOriginally posted by Zilla Quote
I have a K10D and am trying to photograph candle light, or a cigarette lighter flame but can't get the desired results. I use a tripod, and no flash of course. ALL the pics I take render the flame as a "white" flame, instead of the yellowish tint I desire. I've tried from slow (0.5s) to fast (200) shutter speeds, and varying f/stops (f4.0-f11), and varying ISO (200-1600). I also used Auto, Shady, Cloudy, white balance. I've google on tips to see suggestions, and those pages render the flame white also. Any ideas?
Will the flame be white because it is burnt out? The contrast between the candle wax and the light of the flame might be too big, and the flame will be washed out.

Another technique is to put a colored filter in front of the flash, if you are using this setup, to make the color temperature of the flash different from the color temperature of the flame.

The different exposures are no difference - it is a matter of not having the flame burning out. So go with ISO 100 and as fast a shutterspeed and small aperture to see the color. Do you also need the blue part of the bottom of the flame?
05-17-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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And can you post one of yours to compare?
05-17-2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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Try different white balance. The flame is likely throwing off the auto white balance. You'll find something you like.
05-17-2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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Well, this was done with K200D, ISO 400, 1/4S @ f/8, manual WB:



Try setting the WB from a sheet of white paper lit only by the candle/flame...

05-17-2009, 02:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
Try different white balance. The flame is likely throwing off the auto white balance. You'll find something you like.
I did play with different white balances, and EV compensation, to no avail.
05-17-2009, 02:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
Well, this was done with K200D, ISO 400, 1/4S @ f/8, manual WB:



Try setting the WB from a sheet of white paper lit only by the candle/flame...
Well the flame in you pic is also "white", not my desired yellow. I'll try your white paper trick. I do have a midtone card I can try too.
05-17-2009, 02:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chris.Nielsen Quote
Will the flame be white because it is burnt out? The contrast between the candle wax and the light of the flame might be too big, and the flame will be washed out.

Another technique is to put a colored filter in front of the flash, if you are using this setup, to make the color temperature of the flash different from the color temperature of the flame.

The different exposures are no difference - it is a matter of not having the flame burning out. So go with ISO 100 and as fast a shutterspeed and small aperture to see the color. Do you also need the blue part of the bottom of the flame?
I don't, and don't want to, use flash in this setting.
05-17-2009, 06:09 PM   #12
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I would try exposing the picture to get the FLAME in the mid tones, this will probably render it yellow. But everything else will be black so you'll probably need another shot exposing for the candle (as you did already) and merge in post processing.
05-17-2009, 10:42 PM   #13
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You really should post one of your pictures, with EXIF intact. But I'm guessing you're *way* overexposed. Go to M mode and keep increasing shutter speed until you get a completely black picture and see if it doesn't turn yellow somewhere on the way. Use flash WB, BTW, to best capture the color of a candle or any light source.
05-18-2009, 09:16 AM   #14
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This kind of thing can be tricky. You really want to bring illumination levels up high enough that the candle isn't the only light source using tungsten light, which is also yellowish.
05-18-2009, 10:26 AM   #15
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1. Lookat the histogram. If it is cut off at the right, decrease the exposure.
Then
2. Try a variety of white balances 'til you find the one you like.

The reason #2 is needed is that candle flames are comparatively cool, hence reddish orange. Our visual system compensates for this & renders their color different from reality.

If a white balance is taken from the light of the candle flame then, by definition, that color will be rendered white.

Iowa Dave
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