Part 5 Working with white balance
Are your image colours looking unnatural? Here’s the solution...
To the human eye, white objects always look white. But to make white appear as white in digital photographs, colour temperatures need to be adjusted – a process called white balance (WB). The default Automatic White Balance (AWB) setting chooses one of several presets from the camera’s memory (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten or Fluorescent), but if one colour in the scene is predominant, these settings won’t give you the best results.
Instead, go manual and create your own WB setting. Simply photograph a piece of white paper or card under the same light source you’re going to use for the photos, then save the data generated – displayed as Custom White Balance in most camera menus – and load it before shooting.
Alternatively, you can dial in a colour temperature value. Each light source has its own temperature along a spectrum of red to blue, which is recorded in Kelvin (K). Blue and white are ‘cool’ colours with values over 7,000K, while red and orange are warmer, located around 2,000K.
You’ll find colour temperature charts for photography available online; enter the appropriate value into the camera, typically found under Colour Temp. As Kelvin values vary, you’ll need to change the WB settings the next time you use your camera.
To make white appear as white in digital photographs, colour temperatures need to be adjusted
Shade Daylight Cloudy Flourescent 2,600K 2,800K 3,000K 2,500K
Custom Enter your own WB here...
Kelvin ...Or enter the colour temperature.