Tip #46: Set Your Camera to Auto White Balance

December 04, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Light in different conditions or from different sources emits different colors or tones. This is referred to as color temperature. Clear blue skies and cloudy days give off a cooler blue tone. Sunset light tends to be warmer or red. Tungsten light emits a yellow tone while candlelight emits a red tone.

All of these variations in color temperature will affect the overall appearance of your photograph.

Over the course of a day or even in a few minutes of photographing outdoors, the color temperature of the light can change drastically. Think of a partly cloudy day when the clouds pass in front of the sun blocking the warm light and then the light changes just as fast as the sun reappears from behind the clouds. Adjusting for these drastic changes in light can be difficult to react to quickly.

The simple solution I have found is to leave your camera set to auto white balance, a feature found in the main menu of your camera. By using this setting, your camera will automatically adjust for the color of light through changes in the white balance.

Of course, selecting your own white balance setting can create some very interesting artistic effects, but may make adjusting for the color balance in post-processing more cumbersome.

Another option is to set your camera to auto white balance and then create different variations in post-processing by using the different white balance presets found in most post-processing software.

As with previous tips, if time and the situation allow, try different settings. You just never know what kind of creative photo you may come up with depending on the conditions at the time.


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