White balance

When is white not white? When you photograph it under certain lights! Hey, that rhymed!

Humans have brains which interpret colors in different ways, and the sensors in your camera are no different. If you were to take a sheet of white paper and take a photo of it in an office environment, in the middle of a field, or under flash lighting, it’s likely going to look a different shade of white in each image. This is where you either have to select the right white balance setting on your camera (or just adjust it in post processing).

Note, I just shoot with auto white balance and adjust in Lightroom later on.

This is going to be a very a short post on the temperature of lighting with an example. Seeing as this is something so easy to resolve, but may clear up a question you had as to “why does this look so horrible?!” when you take an image.

Let’s begin…

There are a few varying situations where your camera will see “white” in different ways.

  • Fluorescent lighting – such as in offices
  • Tungsten lighting – such as indoor lights
  • In cloudy weather – overcast or kinda rainy conditions
  • In normal weather
  • On a super nice sunny day – summer, or snowy environment or even higher elevations

Here’s an image taken of a bedroom with 3 different white balance settings. Goes to show how it can effect your final image!

Most cameras have a setting where you can shoot at a white or neutral colored object and get the white balance setting based upon that. This is the best way to get the perfect technically correct image. Or like I said, you can adjust the white balance (or temperature and tint) in post processing.

Anyway, that’s my brief overview of white balance.

Of course, photography is purely subjective to what the photographer wants to show the viewer. The only technical aspects are just choices. No right or wrong. It’s all artistic!

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