Sunday, November 20, 2011

White Balance and Color Temperature

White balance controls the color temperature of the light source. This makes the colors in your images as accurate as the way you look at the scene. Camera white balance is measured in Kelvin.

You may have noticed when taking photos, some may come out with strong bluish or yellowish color, even though the colors in the scene look natural to the naked eye. The reason behind this is the actual source of light has different color temperatures.

Kelvin values of White balance preset
Take the chart above as an example, if you are shooting under a daylight condition wherein the color cast is bluish, then you should set your white balance at the range of 5000-6500 Kelvin to warm the color and balance the bluish cast. Doing so, will balance the color and thus will be more accurate to the actual scene.

White Balance comparison

Learning to balance the color temperature, will allow you to take control of the camera and set it to the proper white balance, so your photos will have colors as accurate as the scene itself.

White Balance Preset

Auto – This preset automatically adjusts the color temperature according to the different lighting conditions. It works on most occasions, but using other presets or custom Kelvin settings will provide better results.

Shade – Shade preset is useful in a shaded location where color temperature is cooler and produces bluish photos. Using the shade preset warms the color temperature of your camera.

Cloudy – This preset is used when you’re shooting on a cloudy day. Cloudy preset is warmer than shade.

Daylight – Daylight preset is used for outdoor shoot on a sunny day setting.

Flash – Flash color temperature is quite cool. Using this mode warms the color temperature.

Fluorescent – This preset is used when lighting comes from a fluorescent lamp, which produces a cooler color compared to tungsten bulb.

Tungsten – This mode is the coolest setting on the white balance preset. It is usually used indoors, especially when dealing with tungsten light bulb as lights source. Tungsten mode cools down the color temperature in your photos.

Custom White Balance – Allows you to use a photograph as a reference to white balance. To use this preset use an expo disc or a white balance card and shoot it where your light source is coming from.

Kelvin – This mode allows you to enter the actual Kelvin value, giving you precise control over the camera’s color temperature. Kelvin mode is useful if the presets can’t get the right color temperature.

Tip: Use a white object when setting your white balance, take a couple of photos. Check the photos using the LCD. If the color of the white object is accurate according to the actual object, then you have a correct white balance setting.

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