Tuesday Photography Tips & Tricks – The Beauty of the Expo Disc & White Balance

Don’t you hate it how sometimes you spend FOREVER in Lightroom or Photoshop trying to get the stinkin’ correct white balance for your images?  Waste time no more!  These next minutes will forever change your editing time, and therefore will change your life.

Guaranteed.

Read on :)

When we first started shooting professionally back in ’07, we (well, really Zach :) stumbled across this awesome little guy called the ExpoDisc, and it truly has changed our editing and edit time.  You know how we’re big advocates of shooting everything in camera so your edit time is next to nil and how we show clients images as we are shooting because they look so great right on the back of our cameras?  Well, the ExpoDisc, my friend, is a HUGE part of this.

The ExpoDisc is essentially a gray card.  Just smaller and more accurate. For those who like to read the detailed information of its workings, you can visit the ExpoDisc web page on Expo Imaging’s site.

The Awesomeness of the Expo Disc:

– It’s small and comes with a strap where you can wear it around your neck or in a little carrying case that attaches to your belt.  SWEET.
– Allows you to get a custom white balance, set it in your camera and all the following images will have beautiful color!  Try showing your subjects your images as you are shooting – they will FLIP!
– If you forget to get a custom WB (which it really takes about 5 seconds and doing it beforehand is the way you want to do it :) then you can grab the WB real quick after shooting in that particular scene and apply it to the previous images in Lightroom later.
– If you have two cameras, only one camera has to get the custom WB and then in post you can simply and quickly apply the correct WB to the other camera’s images so the colors will match!
– The ExpoDisc is great for double checking your exposure!

We believe so strongly in Expo Imaging’s ExpoDisc that we have partnered with them for our IN-CAMERA photography workshops.  Fun times!

They also have used our images for their ads.

The ExpoDisc is seriously a must have for every photographer.  If we didn’t believe in it as much as we do, we wouldn’t be here telling you about it :)

Here are two other examples of images we have taken, and how big of a difference getting a custom WB makes as opposed to guessing or the camera’s awful auto white balance.

The ExpoDisc is put out by Expo Imaging and you can visit their site HERE.

Tips for Purchasing an ExpoDisc:

-We use the ExpoDisc Neutral
– When you buy one, buy the one that fits your biggest lens.

Who else out there uses the ExpoDisc?  Will you ever be able to live without it now?  :)

Happy Tuesday!!!

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  • http://thomaslesterphotography.com Thomas Lester

    I’ve thought about buying one of these things for a long time, but all the videos on their site say you need to go to the subjects position and get your WB reading shooting towards the light. We are wedding photographers. We can’t just hop up on the alter shoot towards the light during a ceremony. So, does it HAVE to happen this way? Or can you shoot at your subject?

    How do you guys do it?

  • http://thomaslesterphotography.com Thomas Lester

    BTW… Jody’s face on the “Big Smiles” graphic is pretty funny.

  • http://www.wesbrownphotography.com Wes Brown

    I LOVE my Expo Disc. You guys introduced me to it last year during a workshop and while I understood it, I just didn’t “get it”.

    Eventually I went out on a limb and purchased one…one of the best $100 I’ve ever spent on gear. The color that can be captured “in camera” is breath taking.

    Thank you guys so much!

  • http://korsonstudios.com Paul Korson

    Great post guys, I love my expo disc and the images that result from proper white balances rock. There are tons of other systems but I’ve never found anything this convenient since your subject doesn’t have to hold a target. The only problem I have with them is the problem that I seem to have with all of the systems…change in light = change in white balance. When you’re controlling the light it really isn’t a big issue but I recently had a wedding that had different light bulbs in all of their lights and each grouping had a different color cast meaning that I had to do a custom white balance depending on where I was standing in the room. I ended up having to ditch the in camera wb and just took the different readings and applied them in lightroom after the fact. Moral of the story though, I got the right wb and didn’t have to guess but anyone thinking about using it just keep in mind that its an extra step and you might get a bit obsessive over having the right colors ;)

  • http://www.annasawinphotography.com Anna Sawin

    Yes, as Thomas says, I never feel like it is quite flexible enough for me–but maybe I’m not doing it right! How often are you changing balance? I’m intrigued by GETTING IT RIGHT in camera!

  • http://Adaphoto.com Cory phillips

    We bought one right after our mentoring session and have been amazed! I honestly never shoot without it : )

  • http://www.grayphotograph.com Jody Gray

    @Thomas – Correct, you DO need to go to the position of the subject and point it towards the light. This is great for portraits, but the example you brought up – ceremony, where you don’t exactly want to be up in their mug – you can 1) get the white balance reading before the ceremony begins (if it’s indoors and the light won’t be different by the time the ceremony is happening), or if it’s outside you can at least point your camera in the same lighting situation and get it close. Other than that, no worries and do what you have always done before. It’s definitely not something to write off because it sometimes may not be ideal for ceremonies. Use it all the time otherwise.

    @Anna – Whenever the light changes, that changes the white balance. Every new scene that you are shooting in you want to grab a white balance. It really only takes literally 5 seconds and it’s worth it because it will save you TONS of time in post :)

  • http://www.2duce2.com Eugene & Heather

    How about this is disc is rocking our video world! Saves soo much time in post! Aww yeah baby!!

  • http://NA Matt Britton

    Expodisc is amazing. I bought one after the workshops and can’t believe the difference it makes. I love the fact that it gets the tint as well. Must have for any photographer!

  • http://www.redkphotoblog.com Kelli

    Okay, shame on me, I’ve owned an Expo disc for 2 years and have never really used it. I just get so “in the moment” at a shoot I hate to stop to mess with white balance. Even 5 seconds seems to really cause a break in the action, but I’ll give it another shot!

  • http://www.rebeccawalkerblog.com/ Rebecca Walker

    I LOVE my expo disc!! It has changed my life, and cut my editing time below half! Even if I had not have won this during IN-Camera, I would have bought it the next day. The $100 is beyond worth it :)

  • Kevin

    I got one of these and it works great. But, once you throw a flash in to the mix, it’s very confusing. The video doesn’t show how. I would love it if you did a follow up post showing how you use the expodisc with a flash.

  • http://Bokehphotographer.com Chad Wojtysiak

    I purchased a neutral balance expodisc two years ago and love it! This past year we took a trip to Ireland and I lost it the last days e were there. I was so out of sorts without it I bought a new one when we got back. Though I tried the warm for the second time around. It is ok for portraits, but for weddings the neutral is a must have. It is amazing how well it works. Don’t leave home without it!

  • http://www.chaseplusjaime.com Jaime + Chase

    We LOVE LOVE LOVE our ExpoDisc!! I don’t know how we shot before this. During IN-Camera, we were just blown away knowing this was life changing. When Chase won it… our lives DID change! Now we can’t shoot without it!! Not only that but we have made time together a possibility since we cut down editing time by 3/4s!!! Zach and Jody, we LOVE you and are so thankful you have shared your wisdom with us!! Way beyond worth it to those considering!!!

  • http://www.parsonsphoto.org Diane Parsons

    I use the Expo Disc – I love it!!

  • http://thomaslesterphotography.com Thomas Lester

    Thanks Jody for the explaination. I guess in a wedding scenario, it would make sense to maybe stack the first set of images as WB images. Then in LR, you can figure out which one is which and WB based on your location in the room. Portraits, it would be cake.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.amysphotography.typepad.com Amy

    I was just asking another photographer about the Expo Disc yesterday. How ironic that this is the topic today. I’m going to B&H’s website right now and buying one!

    Thanks for these Tuesday tips!

  • http://www.artpixportraitstudio.com Cesar Palima

    I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.ginnycorbettphotography.com Ginny Corbett

    ExpoDisc sent me one to give away at For the Love Workshop. I have been so tempted to break that sucker open and use it myself. I guess I need to hurry up and buy one :)

  • Kate McNamara

    LOVE IT!!!! IM GOING TO BUY AN EXPO! miss you guys ;) it thrilled my heart of hearts to see your faces at ceces!

  • Courtney Appleton

    After taking your workshop I knew I HAD to have the Expo disc!!! It has made my life so much easier!!! No more stress over white balance! Woohoo!!!! Thanks guys!!!

  • Zach

    Kevin-

    If you are bouncing flash off of a wall or ceiling in a reception, then you simply aim your flash straight ahead, put on the Expo Disk, and take an image of the ceiling or wall you are bouncing off of. Then set that image for your custom white balance. No matter what color the ceiling is, it will take the tints out and give you a perfect 18% gray! If you are using flash outdoors, then is a different story. 1st, NEVER use on-camera flash outdoors pointed directly at your subject; instead, use off-camera flash outdoors and do it on manual mode only. Once you get your meter reading (using a hand held meter) then simply take an image of your off-camera flash from the metered position (where your subject will be) and you got it! Hope that helps!!

  • http://www.sdphotographs.com Stan Dunlap

    Have used it for several years, man it is an awesome little tool!

  • http://www.haydonphotography.com Joe Anna

    Awesome tip :) I went right over to B&H and purchased one. I can’t wait to try it out! When are yall having another workshop?

  • http://www.christataylorphotography.com Christa Taylor

    This is exactly what I have been looking for ! Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  • http://jessicaleaphotography.com Jessica

    Hi! This product looks amazing. I want to buy one, but had a question about the size. You say to buy the one that fits my biggest lens. Does that mean I should buy an adapter so that it will fit all of my lenses? Or can I just hold it up to my smaller lenses and get the same results that way. Thanks so much for your help!! I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta for the PASS Tour!!

    • http://www.grayphotograph.com Jody Gray

      Hey Jessica! You can just hold up the expo disc to the other lenses that it doesn’t exactly fit on :)