Photography

Subject:
white balance setting.
Response To:
Photo 101 light balancing ()

John Lucas
I'll take a stab at white balance although I'm not an expert either. One of the big advantages of digital cameras are the white balance settings. No more carrying around a bag full of filters. You can't trust your eyes. Shoot a photo and look at on your camera. If it's orange use the tungsten setting. If it's green use the Flourescent setting. If it's blue try the shady sun setting. Those are just ball park and there are others. If in doubt use Auto and cross your fingers.
Adding filters also eats up light so shooting things like our Basketball gym used to be a pain because you already had a low light situation. Put a filter on to match the lights and now you have even less light. Shooting our plays was even worse because the light was lower and the filter needed was denser.
Digital cameras have White balance settings. You can use Auto but it's kind of like auto metering. It might do a good job but it just as likely might not. For rapid shooting we often use the auto setting and shoot in Raw so we can fine tune the color in photo shop later. More on this later.
Your camera usually has white balance setting for Auto, Tungsten, Daylight, Flourescent, Shady sunlight, and North side of the building shade. If you have a more sophisticated camera you can bias these settings. Some cameras also have a custom white balance.
Mostly what I do is pick a white balance that is close and just shoot. If we need dead on color the I use the Custom white balance setting and set the balance or I use a Kodak color chart, shoot it and correct it later in photoshop.
It's hard to tell you what setting to use anymore when indoors because of the CFL bulbs that are all over the place color wise. Just pick a setting that looks close and try to correct it later. In my photo classes I will discuss specific lights and the specific white balance to use for them. Most should be obvious. If you in Daylight use Daylight. If your under flourescent use the flourescent setting.
If you have Custom white balance, read your manual and find out how to set it. Basically you choose that setting, then shoot a white or gray card, the camera now memorizes that color and adjusts. You can now shoot and get good color as long as you stay in that kind of light. If you change or course you will have to do it all over. With the old cameras you had to change filters for all these different settings which was a pain if you had different lenses.
I mentioned shooting in RAW. This allows you to make major adjustments to color and has saved my butt many times. However don't rely on that alone. It's very difficult to fully correct a photo that is very far off color and not lose some quality, not to mention you hair. Get the photo as close as possible by using your brain and the camera controls. Then fine tune if needed in photo software.

Messages In This Thread

Photo 101 light balancing
white balance setting.
Re: white balance setting.
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