EP 56: How to Shoot In Kelvin with Audrey Nicole Photography

Hi everyone. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Photo Business Help podcast. I'm Natalie Jennings. Today I am chatting with Audrey, of Audrey Nicole Photography. She's been on the show before. If you haven't heard that episode, head on back to the archives, I think it's episode number eight, where we talk a lot about self care. It's a good one. Today we are going to talk about something that doesn't get covered too often and I thought would be a really great topic. I saw Audrey mention it in the Facebook group and I wanted to dig in: shooting in Kelvin. I always like when new topics are brought up that I haven't added to my list of stuff to talk about.

Natalie Jennings 0:36
So I'm excited to talk to Audrey but first before we dig into that, I want to congratulate you on quitting your job and doing photo full time! I've known you from from the early days of your photo journey, and I am so stoked for you.

Natalie Jennings 0:52
How's it going?

Audrey 0:53
I'm super great.

Audrey 0:58
Today's my first official day as being 100% self-employed.

Natalie Jennings 1:03

Audrey 1:05
My daughter woke me up with breakfast in bed. And I did a little photo work on location, and then I was doing stuff at home and feels pretty good.

Natalie Jennings 1:15
That's awesome.

Audrey 1:17
It's a good day.

Natalie Jennings 1:17
Congratulations. That's a big deal. And from my own experience, I know how good that feels.

Audrey 1:23
Yeah, it really does.

Natalie Jennings 1:25
Anything else you want to say about what led up to that decision or how you're feeling about it now that it's official?

Audrey 1:31
It's probably a decision I could have made earlier, but was afraid to. I don't really have a pivotal thing that happened that made me decide other than I just crunched some numbers and sat there for a second and I said, I'm going to do it tomorrow. I'm going to quit tomorrow. And then I told a few people so it was like I had to be held accountable. And then I did it, and it just felt right.

Natalie Jennings 1:54
Well, there's been a massive supportive response in the Photo Business Help Facebook group. One of our other members, who was recently on the show a couple episodes ago, also just quit her job. Same same situation, crunching numbers deciding that it was time to pull the trigger. And yeah, super, super excited. So that's great news. I mean, I'd love to have you back on in a few months. I told Ashley the same thing just to sort of check in see how things are going see, see what sort of ups and downs come your way. I really think that these conversations are incredibly helpful to other people that are undoubtedly in your in your situation.

Audrey 2:32
Yeah, that would be cool to like, check in and then listen back on this moment will compare and see what's going on.

Natalie Jennings 2:39
Cool. Well, today we're going to chat as everyone knows, these episodes aren't super long. And today we are going to chat a little bit about Kelvin. And as I said, we came we came around to this because you had posted something in the group and I thought it was a great topic because it's not talked about very much. Before we dig into that, do you want to tell people where they can find you so that if they want to take a look at some recent work that was shot and Kelvin, they know what's going on?

Audrey 3:09
Yeah, I'm Audrey Nicole Photography on pretty much all platforms. And I'm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Twin Cities area. So I think there's an Audrey Nicole down south somewhere, too. So if you want to find me, I'm the one in Minnesota.

Natalie Jennings 3:26
You're the real, real Audrey Nicole.

Audrey 3:29
Yeah, I'm the real Audrey Nicole.

Natalie Jennings 3:33
That's so funny. Well, okay, so Kelvin is one of those things. For those of you who are pretty familiar with the manual settings on your camera, when you go into your white balance, which is what makes your photos look really blue or orange depending on where you are and everything in between when you're shooting…most of us including myself, I would say 90% of the time I'm shooting an automatic white balance. Since since I started sort of messing around with my new camera a year ago, I've found what everyone else is finding. It saves you a lot of editing time if you're a bit more intentional with your white balance settings when you're shooting. Your straight out of camera stuff comes out a little bit more authentically. What was your journey to starting to shoot and Kelvin and then I'll backtrack and do a little backstory and what the what the boink Kelvin actually is.

Audrey 4:26
So I was definitely always shooting an auto because I would feel overwhelmed about thinking about what number I had to switch it to and this and that. So I just kept it in auto cuz I felt like oh, it saves me time. I don't have to sit there and think about it. But then I had another photographer friend that I was working with that showed me how she was shooting and Kelvin and she was using flash because we were at a wedding. And the photos just looks so much nicer on the back of camera. They were warmer, and it was more motivating and pleasing to look at. You know, when you're looking at the back of the camera, if your images aren't looking the way you want them to, it can be a little discouraging mid session. So I started shooting and Kelvin also. And not only was it making it easier when I edited because it's more consistent, but also mid session when I'm looking at the back of my camera. I'm like, “Oh, I like what I see,” that just helps motivate you during the session.

Natalie Jennings 5:25
I totally understand that. I think most people that have been shooting a little while get that vibe, too. Motivating is a good word. It makes you excited about your work when you look at the back of the camera and you're like, “Oh, this looks cool,” you know? So that's a great reason. So I'm going to back up a little bit. I pulled up an article. I wanted to get the facts dead right in terms of giving the backstory to this. So I'm going to read a really quick paragraph about what is Kelvin so that I don't misspeak and so that people know what we're talking about.

Mastin Labs Article 5:58
“Kelvin is the standard international unit of measurement for thermodynamic temperature. It was named after a British engineer William Thompson first Baron Kelvin, who advocated for the invention of an absolute temperature scale. Kelvins follow the same increments of Celsius degrees though they are not written as degrees and there's no negative scale. The Kelvin scale begins at zero k representing negative 275.150 Celsius, which is absolute zero or the absence of all heat.

Mastin Labs Article 6:23
“So in photography, Kelvin represents the temperature of light directly correlated with the color of the burning of carbon. During the research process of the temperature scale, Lord Kelvin heated a block of carbon. At the lowest temperature of the black of carbon glow to dim red as the heat increased, the burning black changed color from red to yellow to bright blue at its highest temperature.”

Natalie Jennings 6:46
So that gives everyone just a little bit of an idea of like sort of a history behind the word. When we're when we're talking about Kelvin, we're literally talking about that scale from blues all the way up to warm, warm, warm colors. Do you want to just say a little bit about how you sort of–like I'd say Kelvin 101–how you kind of started shooting with it and what you found to be helpful and what you found to be maybe a little challenging?

Audrey 7:12
So Kelvin is, after listening to that explanation, very scientific. And that can be a little like whoa, that's a lot information. So simplifying, it's basically the color of light. And there's lots of different types of light. There's daylight, there's fluorescent lights, there's what's called tungsten light, which are like a lamp on your nightstand. And they're different colors. So when I'm shooting I like to keep things a little warmer but not too warm, and I'm usually around 6200 degrees. On average, I just keep it right there.

Natalie Jennings 7:48
And is that the same for flash?


Audrey 7:49
Yes, for flash, too. So when I would shoot flash it would come out really blue when I was an auto, so I started doing Kelvin around 6200 and it warmed up a lot. So it just made my flash images look a lot better and more consistent.

Natalie Jennings 8:04
Awesome. That's great. You're shooting outside mostly right?

Audrey 8:07
Uh huh. Yep, I can even go higher than that sometimes. But yeah, it's kind of where I start: 6200.

Natalie Jennings 8:14
Sure. And how often during the average photoshoot would you say that you adjust your Kelvin?

Audrey 8:20
Not often.

Natalie Jennings 8:23
I asked only because I think that's like one of those things. That's the part where people's brains–when they're just learning to shoot manual–like you and I both said, it's easier to set it on automatic. For those of you that are just getting the hang of shooting manually, I would put this on your list of to do things to experiment with but don't show up to your photoshoot trying to do it all because it might freak you out. If you're still thinking really, really hard. And we all know, you know if you're in that boat like they are showing up and you're having to think. Because there is a point where you don't think about it anymore.

Natalie Jennings 8:56
Anything else you want to say about it in terms of what happens afterwards? So you're shooting Kelvin, you're not really adjusting too often you're shooting around 6200. But what does that do for your post production?

Audrey 9:08
Well, one thing for sure, I've noticed with wedding photography and having a second shooter. One of the last weddings I did, I did not have my second shooter in Kelvin, they were in auto. And that will be a requirement going forward because I had to adjust the white balance on almost every other image, which took a lot of time. You know, the color of light can change, you can stand in the same spot and just turn half a circle and it everything changes. Editing, it definitely cuts down on having to be all over the place. Because when it's an auto your camera will change the white balance all the time. Like up down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up down after every picture. So when it's in Kelvin it's the exact same number, exact same color, the whole time.

Natalie Jennings 9:59
Yeah. This is something that I said I was in auto forever.

Audrey 10:07
Just this year is when I really was like, “Oh, I'm just started doing this.”

Natalie Jennings 10:10
Yeah, the coloring on the 5D mk iv was noticeably different for me. Just the quality, there's a green tone to stuff in auto. So I've been playing around with different settings and so that's why this conversation sort of sparked my interest because I think it's, um, it can save a lot of time and and it's it's just sort of fun to play around with it. If you're listening to this and you want to check out the show notes. If you go to and then try and then find this episode number, there's a little Kelvin scale chart that I'll post in there that you can take a look at. So it's got all different numbers associated with different qualities of light. And I'll have the link to the article where I was just reading from as well. So if you want to dive into Kelvin and get all geeky-scientific, it'll all be there for you on the website. But is there anything else that you want to say about about switching over?

Audrey 11:12
It's just funny to think about how scientific it is like, we're scientists actually…we're not. But it definitely is worth playing around with. If you're outside I'd say start at like 6200. If you're indoors, that's where it might get a little trickier. If you have some different kinds of lights going on, like overhead lights, fluorescent, you're using your flash. But once you kind of see yourself in a few similar situations, you'll kind of remember like, Oh, yeah, last time I was in this kind of late I was at this number. Or you can even write it down in a note in your phone so that you can go back. That little extra time getting the temperature right when you're shooting, saves you a gazillion minutes editing.

Natalie Jennings 12:00
I'm so glad that you brought that up. Yeah, 65-ish is a is a pretty standard, good place to start if you're if you're feeling overwhelmed by this.

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Natalie Jennings 12:10
I am glad that you brought up fluorescent light. Although it is a part of the Kelvin metering scale, if you start trying to shoot Kelvin for the first time and you just happen to be in a room with fluorescent light, don't freak out. I remember when I was first starting out in photography, and I was covering a sporting thing, and there was a lot of fluorescent lights in the room. Every other shot one was blue one was yellow, one was green, then one was white then one was blue. So fluorescent lights, including holiday lights, there's certain lights, probably all lights but for us and in particular, constantly blink and flicker in different color tones that our eyes can't pick up but the camera can. So if you are shooting in fluorescent light for the very first time and you just happen to have listened to this episode and use start using Kelvin, it's not the Kelvin that's doing it. It's the fact that you're in for flourescent lighting and it's just going to flicker. And you're going to get a different quality of light, probably. You know, stand in a fluorescent-lit room and do a really fast multi shutter speed thing and you'll see that every photo is a little bit of a different color. So that's my two cents on that. Well, congratulations again on going full time. Audrey is also an associate of mine for Jennings Photo. She does amazing work and it's been so much fun to to see this happen. It's been awesome.

Audrey 13:29
It feels really good. And right. And yeah.

Natalie Jennings 13:36
I'm actually I'm glad you said that too. Today's episode, Episode 54, is a short little rambling one that I did on getting aligned and just what feels good versus what we sort of think ourselves into. So if that interests you, if you haven't heard it, head on back and check that one out. Because feeling into what's right is a big deal. So yeah, cool.

Natalie Jennings 14:04
All right, so shooting and Kelvin give it a try if you are feeling buried in post production work, that is one way to speed things up quite rapidly and it's probably going to be a requirement for my associates going forward. For at least one of them, haha.

Natalie Jennings 14:27
All right, thank you so much. If you guys are listening along to some of these interviews and wondering how all of us stay connected, all of us, everyone that's been interviewed on this show so far in the last 50-ish episodes are part of our Facebook group. So you can join: it's Photo Business Help with Natalie Jennings or you just search photo biz help. Or go to, you can join that way. We'd love to have you! Everyone's at different levels. Everyone's just helping each other out, having a conversation about photography. So, and we'll see you there. I will be back every Tuesday and Thursday for 10-ish minute episodes.



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