• Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • Yesterday we talked about color cast and I mentioned that we would be talking about white balance and color temperature. Today we'll be addressing how you can use white balance to overcome color casts.

    According to Wikipedia, a white balance is the global adjustment of the intensities of the colors (typically red, green, and blue primary colors). An important goal of this adjustment is to render specific colors correctly, particularly neutral colors; hence, the general method is sometimes called gray balance, neutral balance, or white balance.

    What's important to know is that the acquisition sensors (your cameras) do not match the sensors in the human eye. What this means...is that what we see as white....isn't recorded as white in your camera depending on the ambient viewing conditions and lighting. Proper camera white balance has to take into account the "color temperature" of a light source, which refers to the relative warmth or coolness of white light.

    For example, in this first series, when indoors, tungsten lighting is warm in color - giving off a yellow/orange color cast when recorded in "auto" white balance mode. But when I modified my white balance setting to use the preset of Tungsten light - it takes into consideration the yellow cast and adds blue, making the whites seem white. "Tungsten" is the name of the metal out of which the bulb's filament is made.

  • white balance example

  • One thing to remember however, is that when you set your white balance for indoor settings with Tungsten lighting conditions, and then you go outside, if you forget to change your white balance to say the daylight mode, you'll have a very blue photo. Remember the camera is adding blue when you are using the Tungsten setting. I did just this on Sunday while at the Dream Wedding Show, but luckily I knew exactly what I did and fixed it immediately. It's so easy to forget until you get used to setting your white balance with each photo you take.

  • white balance example

  • It's important to note that when shooting in a condition that has more than 1 type of light source, it's best to use a white balance setting based on the main light source.

    Here are some of the basic White Balance settings you'll find on cameras:

    * Auto - this is where the camera makes a best guess on a shot by shot basis. You'll find it works in many situations but it's worth venturing out of it for trickier lighting.
    * Tungsten - this mode is usually symbolized with a little bulb and is for shooting indoors, especially under tungsten (incandescent) lighting (such as bulb lighting). It generally cools down the colors in photos.
    * Fluorescent - this compensates for the 'cool' light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
    * Daylight/Sunny - not all cameras have this setting because it sets things as fairly 'normal' white balance settings.
    * Cloudy - this setting generally warms things up a touch more than 'daylight' mode.
    * Flash - the flash of a camera can be quite a cool light so in Flash WB mode you'll find it warms up your shots a touch.
    * Shade - the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little.

    (this list was borrowed from www.digital-photography-school.com)

    Try using your white balance presets on your camera. We'll be talking about Degree Kelvin and manual white balance in future posts.

    We'd love to see what you come up with! Please be sure to send in your photos as you try out our tips. Email your entries to info@memoryjournalists.com or post to our facebook page.

    You can get back to the monthly table of contents of Taking Better Blog Photos via our Day 1 post.

    To join this FREE 31 Day series simply sign up HERE to have each day's topic delivered to your inbox. Eventually this series, as well as other photography tips will be added to my new site www.healthylivinghappyhome.com (which is not up yet), so another reason to sign up now is that you will be the first to receive new information as the new site goes live!

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