Understanding White Balance and Color Temperature in Photography Options

photoling 500 - 1998
@2018-07-07 22:18:36

photoling 500 - 1998
@2018-07-08 20:28:37

Setting your WB to match the scene, for example using incandescent/tungesten for incandescent lighting, causes your camera to apply a "filter" of the opposite color to balance out the neutral tones, hence the name "White Balance". So, if your scene is lit by incandescent bulbs, your light is orange. The Incandescent WB will cause your camera to add a lot of the opposite color, blue. Flourescents are somewhat green so a combination of red and purple (magenta), would be used to balance out the scene.

photoling 500 - 1998
@2018-07-08 20:30:53

Here are the general steps to establishing a Custom WB. Consult your camera's instruction manual for details. All you need is a sheet of plain printer paper and your camera.

  1. Position your paper so that it is accurately illuminated by your light source. The angle does matter because it will shift your color temperature. Do not back-light the paper with the light source.
  2. Zoom into the paper so it fills the frame. It doesn't have to be in focus.
  3. If you can, stop-down your lens to f5.6 or f8 and use the lowest possible ISO combination with that f-stop. The low ISO will reduce color noise which introduces minute errors into WB-ing in both your camera and Photoshop. The higher aperture will reduce vignetting of the lens which also affects the Custom WB.
  4. Expose your image correctly. Because white paper is so reflective, your camera's meter may tell you to under-expose. Don't. Snap off a shot and check the image's histogram. A narrow spike in the center of the histogram means you've got it.
  5. Select 'Custom WB' from your camera's main menu. A dialogue screen should show the image of the white paper you shot. Click the 'Ok' or 'Set' button to import the image's information.
  6. Set your camera's WB option to 'Custom WB'.

What Custom WB does is tell your camera, "In this lighting condition, this is considered white." The more accurate the exposure, the better your camera will correct for that scene's color temperature and neutralize the whites, grays, and blacks. If you're on location and don't have a white sheet of paper, use the next best white-colored thing you can find: curtain, wedding dress, shirt, clouds, snow, bathroom tissue, plastic bag, ceiling, floor tiles, etc. Don't point your camera at the light source itself, especially the sun, because it will not give you the reflective color temperature — which is what you actually want — and could damage your eyes.

Custom WB is excellent for lighting situations that cannot be satisfied with WB presets. I use it frequently when color-reproduction is crucial, such as when photographing paintings for archiving or a portfolio. I also use it when the light is mixed in color such as multiple light sources, colored walls, or colored glass.

photoling 500 - 1998
@2019-01-01 11:07:44

As the daylight changes during early morning and late evening hours, the varied light intensity is easily perceived by the camera. Therefore, you need to correct the white balance regularly while shooting during these times of the day.

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