White Balance can be very useful tool to know about and how to set White Balance to improve to our photos and correct errors that occurred when shooting. The white balance is a concept that photographers often beginners do not know the meaning and therefore is not applied. Even a mobile camera now has a basic White Balance settings. Color balance is another name of White Balance. Previously we published a technical informative article on White Balance in Digital Photography.
White Balance : Preface
In other words, white balance serves to ensure that the colors of a photo appear as natural as our eyes see them. From the simple observation of the environments which we live every day, which can see under different light sources that produce light of different colors. It is said, in a more technical way that these lights have different color temperatures. These temperatures are measured in Kelvin (K) and can range from 1000K to 10000K of a candle that you have in the shade during a sunny day or under a sky completely covered during the central hours of the day. The human eye adapts automatically to changes in the temperature of the light, less than the extreme cases. Then, a white sheet seems always white, regardless of the fact that it is observed outdoors or under an incandescent bulb.
White Balance : Usual Settings
Unfortunately, the camera sensor is much less “elastic” that human eyes, so it may have often needed by the photographer to suggest the digital camera to define what kind of light illuminates the scene. To do this, almost all digital cameras give you the opportunity to work on a parameter that is called white balance. Generally, the values ??of the white balance available are among the following:
- Automatic: the camera calculates in a completely automatic way the temperature of color, in today’s cameras it is very reliable in most of the situations;
- Incandescent: is used when the space in which we find ourselves is illuminated by incandescent bulbs, so you need to cool a little the color temperature;
- Fluorescence is used in the presence of illumination “neon light” and is used to heat up a little the color temperature;
- Sunlight: it is used in the central part of the day for photos outdoors when the sun is covered by clouds;
- Flash: it is used of course when flash is used;
- Cloudy: when you take pictures outdoors during the day and the sky is overcast;
- Shadow: it is used when photographing during the day, subjects that are outside but in the shade, as the sun is covered by clouds;
- Manual: is used when using the previous values ??are not obtained satisfactory results or you want to have full control over white balance;
Not all values ??listed above are present in all the cameras, but the list is intended to give a complete overview.
White Balance : Recommendations
As long as we use the automatic white balance, for each shot, the camera will try to adjust the color temperature. But when we set any of the other values, including the manual, the camera will continue to behave as if the color temperature had remained the same as when we set the white balance during the last time. So, if for example, we are in the house and the white balance to incandescent, because we only have incandescent bulbs, but then if we go out to take pictures in the garden and we do not remember to change the white balance again, probably we will get pictures with colors that tend to blue / green. It is therefore important to remember that, we always have to remember to check the white balance before starting a photography session, unless you are shooting in fully automatic mode where the camera always decide the white balance.