Search for...
Stay on Board
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Follow us on...
« Portrait tip | Main | Shoot in Raw format »
Sunday
Dec062009

Using White Balance in Creative Ways

 

All digital cameras come with the ability to change the White Balance setting, and it is something to be aware of. Sure, you can set the camera on Auto White Balance(AWB) and let the camera make the decision of what the scene requires to get good color.  And most cameras do a good job of this.

 

But just like taking the camera off of Program mode and shooting with manual settings, experimenting with the White Balance puts you in control of the image making.  If you want to get beyond simply capturing a literal rendition of a scene, this is certainly the direction you want to head in.

 

Here are just two examples.  In both, I just used Auto White Balance.  In the second, I chose the Tungsten setting ( the one that looks like a light bulb).  The reason why the image looks blue is because the color of light changes depending on the light source.  And though our eyes compensate for these things so that white looks white, you probably are most aware that tungsten light bulbs look yellow compared to daylight.  Setting the Auto White Balance to Tungsten means the camera is adding blue to compensate so the whites look white. But if you shoot outdoors in daylight, you've fooled the camera into adding blue to a scene that is already neutral in color.  Thus your picture has a blue tone overall.

 

To my mind, shooting these images with the Tungsten balance helps the image convey a sense of coldness, and that's why I made the adjustment.  This works in the opposite direction as well, so try shooting with a Daylight balance indoors and see what happens.

All digital cameras come with the ability to change the White Balance setting, and it is something to be aware of. Sure, you can set the camera on Auto White Balance(AWB) and let the camera make the decision of what the scene requires to get good color.  And most cameras do a good job of this.


But just like taking the camera off of Program mode and shooting with manual settings, experimenting with the White Balance puts you in control of the image making.  If you want to get beyond simply capturing a literal rendition of a scene, this is certainly the direction you want to head in.


Here are just two examples.  In both, I just used Auto White Balance.  In the second, I chose the Tungsten setting ( the one that looks like a light bulb).  The reason why the image looks blue is because the color of light changes depending on the light source.  And though our eyes compensate for these things so that white looks white, you probably are most aware that tungsten light bulbs look yellow compared to daylight.  Setting the Auto White Balance to Tungsten means the camera is adding blue to compensate so the whites look white. But if you shoot outdoors in daylight, you've fooled the camera into adding blue to a scene that is already neutral in color.  Thus your picture has a blue tone overall.




To my mind, shooting these images with the Tungsten balance helps the image convey a sense of coldness, and that's why I made the adjustment.  This works in the opposite direction as well, so try shooting with a Daylight balance indoors and see what happens.

 

References (4)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>