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Using white balance technique


If you’ve taken a photograph before on your camera or mobile phone, you might have noticed that the colour of the light doesn’t match how it really looked in person. Oftentimes the whiteness, or light, is slightly darker or discoloured. Light sources can influence this effect - whether you’re shooting outdoors, indoors, under incandescent light or unfavourable weather conditions. As a photographer, you will want to overcome the challenge of balancing the white light.

Modern cameras are now equipped with the ability to manipulate the white balance (WB). Typical settings might include switching to the conditions you’re shooting under - sun, shade, cloudy, fluorescent etc. If you’re shooting in RAW, you can still adjust the way white balance appears in the image during post-processing. Software like Lightroom and Photoshop allow you to adjust the colour (colour correction/white balance setting).

White Balance Techniques

  1. In-Camera White Balance: Using Presets

Typical presets:

  • Auto – The auto setting helps in adjusting the white balance automatically

  • Tungsten – This is used for light under a little bulb-like tungsten

  • Fluorescent – This is used for getting brighter and more heated shots

  • Daylight – This is for the normal daylight setting

  • Cloudy – This is ideal for while shooting on a cloudy day

  • Flash – This is required when there is inadequate lighting available

  • Shade – A shaded area usually produces cooler or bluer pictures

  1. In-Camera White Balance: Manual Adjustments

  2. White Balance in Post-Processing

To get better at understanding white balance, it is recommended you read up more on the concept of colour temperature. This will arm you with the knowledge needed to adjust the white balance according to the light source’s colour temperature.

Some readers might think it a strange question to ask about the colour, but you should know that light comes in different colours. Except for pure light, which is white, The intent is that most of the light sources you’ll be utilising when shooting don’t release pure white light but instead come with different colour tones.

Further, by mastering the ability to manipulate the colour temperature, you can make your images more appealing. For example, you can take an image with a cooler tone and adjust it to have a warmer tone. Or fix up an image that looks artificial (shot in a studio) to appear more natural (neutral white or balanced).


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