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What is White Balance in Photography? Get the Perfect White Balance!

What is White Balance in Photography

What is White Balance in Photography is a common question to pop into your head when looking at the options your camera gives you. If you want a guide on what it is and how it makes your photos better, read this till the end and thank me later.

White balance is one of the most important settings in photography, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood.

White balance essentially means finding the right combination of colors to make a photo look natural. For example, if you are photographing a scene with lots of green trees, you will want to find a white balance that makes the greens appear natural and not overly saturated.

What is White Balance in Photography?

In layman’s terms, white balance refers to how warm or cool the overall colors in your photograph appear.

As a result of its ability to analyze the scene and correct for excessively warm or cool colors, your camera is fairly good at reproducing color.

Colors will typically appear fairly accurate in your photographs when compared to how they did in real life. Your camera, however, is susceptible to confusion and occasionally produces colors that are either too warm or too cool.

The areas of your scene that are or should be white are the most obvious places to check for this problem. When taking a photograph by candlelight, the whites can appear yellow or orange.

Understand Color Temperature

When talking about the white balance, color temperature can never be left out.

Understand Color Temperature in white balance in photography.

In photography, color temperature is a measure of the color of light. It is measured in Kelvin (K), and it corresponds to the temperature of a black body that would emit the same color of light.

The color temperature decreases with increasing Kelvin value

Color temperature is important in photography because it affects the way colors are rendered in an image.

Warm colors are rendered as being more orange or red, while cool colors are rendered as being bluer.

If you want to accentuate warm colors in an image, you would use a lower color temperature. If you want to accentuate cool colors in an image, you would use a higher color temperature.

You can change the color temperature of an image using the white balance settings on the majority of digital cameras.

Get The Right Setting

White balance is the process of removing unrealistic color casts in order to make colors look more natural. Auto white balance (AWB) often does a decent job, but it’s not perfect. That’s why learning how to manually set your white balance can be such a game-changer.

It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but once you do, you’ll be able to create photos with more accurate colors and contrast.

White Balance Settings in Your Camera

White Balance Settings in Your Camera

The white balance configuration can be found in your camera’s menu system or by pressing a specialized “WB” button on the device’s body. You can scroll through the various icons that represent the various lighting conditions by holding it down or pressing it.

Auto white balance (AWB)

Auto White Balance (AWB), as the name suggests, automatically sets the white balance to give you the right color temperature in every scene, and in return, takes away your freedom to get your desired results.

The auto camera setting is not going to ask ‘Do you like these colors?’, it will just give you the results the way it seems appropriate to it: so I can conclude from this that the AWB is good for beginners but not when you are a professional seeking your perfect shot.

Manual White Balance Settings

Once you have understood the color combinations that work best for the shots you take, you can simply choose them manually. You’ll be allowed to play around with a wider range of colors in your photos this way.

The Options You’ll Have

There are a few different types of white balance to choose from, each with its own unique effect:

white balance options in camera

-Auto White Balance:

This is the default setting on most cameras and is typically the best option for beginners. According to the available light, the camera will instantaneously switch the white balance.

-Daylight White Balance:

This setting is best used when shooting outdoors during the daytime. It will give your photos a warm, natural look.

-Cloudy White Balance:

As the name suggests, this setting is ideal for shooting on cloudy days or in shady areas. Your pictures will get a little warmer as a result.

-Tungsten white balance

When photographing inside, this mode is frequently employed for light coming from a small bulb like a tungsten one. The color temperature in photos is lowered by the tungsten setting on digital cameras.

-Fluorescent white balance

Fluorescent white balance is used when shooting under fluorescent lights and corrects for the greenish tint that these lights can produce.

-Flash White Balance

Insufficient lighting calls for the use of flash mode. This mode assists in selecting the proper White Balance in low-light situations.

-Shade White Balance

You should warm up the environment before taking pictures of shaded objects because a shaded location typically results in cooler or bluer pictures.

Get the Perfect White Balance with Every Click

When you stare at something for a while, your brain decides to be helpful and informs you that the colors and tones are perfectly normal and balanced. The quality of our vision known as “color constancy” is what we are referring to here.

This feature of our biology ensures that the perceived color of objects under various types of light remains largely constant, which is quite advantageous from an evolutionary perspective. So regardless of the type of light we see something in, we can recognize, for instance, that a berry is red.

This advantageous biological characteristic, however, can actually work against you when it comes to editing your images for accurate color.

In order to get the perfect color in every shot, follow these methods:

The Color Chart

Color Chart for white balance in photography

Color charts are used by professionals to guarantee color accuracy under even the most challenging lighting conditions. In addition to helping with a more accurate white balance, color charts are useful for adjusting other colors in a scene, such as a complexion, flowers, as well as other details.

How To Use A Color Chart?

Using a color chart is simple. Ask the subject to hold the chart while the scene is lit similarly to how the final image will be. To the extent that it is not angled in a way that casts distracting shadows or reflections on its surface, the chart may also be propped in place or held by a helper.

Then simply snap a photo and assess the results.

You can, of course, use the card’s neutral grey tones to help dial in a precise white balance in post-production, but you can also evaluate the specifics of the other colors on the chart.

To find out more about color charts, read this, and order yourself one now.

The Grey Card

Grey Card for white balance in photography

The purpose of a grey card is to serve as a reference point for photographers as they adjust their white balance and exposure settings. A white balance or color balance point will be established for a specific set of images and all subsequent images were taken using this reference point.

The reference point will instruct your image sensor about how to adjust the white balance to help make up for any irradiance in the area where you are going to snap photos.

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How to Use Grey Card?

Placing the grey card with the grey side facing the camera in the area you want to capture a photo will enable you to calculate your reference point. Setting the card near your subject will ensure that it tends to reflect the source of light and produces the most accurate results.

Take a test shot after adjusting your manual camera settings for the best possible exposure and focus. Getting the perfect shot might require taking a couple or three pictures.

Once the photo has been taken, you can go to the camera’s internal shooting menu and choose one of the pre-set white balance offerings or “custom white balance,” which are configurations that are available on all current DSLRs.

Before you start shooting, it is a good idea to go through this process several times if you have the time to ensure that you have obtained an appropriate reference point. If the position, time of day, or lighting changes while you are shooting, you will want to use the grey card to measure some other point of reference.

To know all about the grey cards, click here.

And in case you have decided that you want this make-life-easier equipment for photographers, you can get one from Amazon.

About the author

Erick Rowan

Hi, this is Erick. I can't resist testing Laptops, Gaming PCs, and cameras. Being a photographer and gamer, I am always eager to try something. I am reviewing and helping people for almost 7 years with my experience with the mentioned technologies and I'll keep doing this till the end.

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