White Balance In-Camera For Better Results
I have always been challenged with capturing the most out of my subject matter. Whether it’s landscapes, architecture or portraits, I want to head into post-production with a fine-tuned image.
In my last article, I talked about controlling color in your photography by calibrating your monitor and creating a custom camera profile. This doesn’t solve the issue of color balance; you still need to apply proper white balance when shooting and editing. We all use ISO, shutter speed and aperture to control our exposure, but how do we control blue and orange color cast? We’ve all seen the WB button or option on our cameras, but what do we know about changing it from Auto? Auto does all the white balance correcting for you, right? What about other presets like incandescent, fluorescent, daylight, flash, shade, cloudy, etc.? Understanding your camera’s white balance settings and color temperature can save you all the painstaking hours of correcting color in post-production. We all want to capture more in our images, and by controlling white balance while shooting, you will achieve better results. We need to start by getting an understanding of color temperature and how it relates to lighting conditions.
Color temperature is the visual measurement of light, broadly described in photography as cool or warm. It is measured in kelvins (K), which describes the temperature rising, and is balanced with varied intensities of blue. As the image’s color temperature starts around 1,000 K, it gives the scene a bluish cast. At the opposite end of the color temperature spectrum, 15,000 K has a deep yellow/orange cast. Increasing the K number in your white balance settings adds less and less blue. Knowing this becomes useful in photography when planning for your event’s lighting conditions. For example, if you start the day by shooting in a lamp-lit room where the lighting is ultimately orange, using a lower-kelvin white balance setting adds blue to balance the neutral tones that are too warm. Vise versa with clear blue skies: a higher-kelvin temperature adds orange to bring back that daylight or balanced look to the image.
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