White Balance

Why do my photos have a funny tint to them?  Sometimes they seem bluish, sometimes they seem reddish, sometimes greenish, sometimes they just don’t seem right!

Different light sources have different colors, the colors are measured on the Kelvin Scale–and, no, I’m not going to explain the Kelvin Scale.  Let’s just say that the light on the shady side of a building has a different characteristic/color (it is bluer) than full sunlight.  Your eyes do not notice the difference because your brain is so complex that it makes adjustments automatically to compensate.  Your camera does not have the brains to automatically compensate (except when you shoot in the automatic mode–and, even then, you’re not garanteed great results).

Your camera can compensate for color temperature by using the white balance in your camera menus.  On a cloudy day go into your menus, find the white balance menus, find the setting for “cloudy” and turn it on.  Your camera will add and subtract the color needed to give you a decent photograph under cloudy conditions.  The photo will actually look like what you photographed.

But there are times when even the proper white balance doesn’t seem to work.  This is especially noticeable when you mix different lighting sources; like using a flash indoors with flourescent lights.  The remedy for this problem (of mixing a variety of light values) is a custom white balance.  You can achieve custom white balance by purchasing a “perfect white card” (or using a piece of white paper).  Find the custom white balance setting on your white balance menu, set it, and then follow the instructions on your LCD screen.  You will be told to take a photograph of your white source in the lighting you will be using.  Be sure to fill your lens with the white card.  Take the photo and your camera will be custom set to your light sources.  Be sure to change your custom white balace everytime your lighting situation changes.

By understanding white balance, people will look at your photos and give you the ultimate compliment:  “Wow, you must own a really expensive camera!”

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About Jim The Photographer

I am a photographer from Manchester, Connecticut. My photographic interests are many and varied.
This entry was posted in color balance, Modelling, photographic lighting, photography, white balance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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