How to Choose Your Camera White Balance

Understanding photography has a lot to do with mastering the methods of white balance. This is considered as one of the most vital digital camera settings. White balance settings could make or break the images you capture on your camera.

Therefore it is important to fully understand each aspects of white balance. Imagine photographing the beautiful form of sea waves as it crashes to the shore while an overcast sky fills the background. Interesting right? But, if you don’t come up with a correct white balance setting you will just ruin the moment and capture an image totally different from what you’ve seen. So, in order to capture the real colors and a beautiful image of the sea waves against an overcast sky you need to efficiently use the white balance setting of your camera. Here’s a list of useful information to help you understand white balance better.

camera white balance

Color Temperature

Understanding the notion of color temperature brings you closer to fully grasping the concepts of white balance. Color temperature is distinctive of visible light. It gives a clear definition of these features measured in Kelvin (K). Lights having a color with high temperature will produce more blue light or a higher Kelvin value as matched to light with smaller amount of Kelvin value. The following shows the different color temperature of the many light sources.

Color Temperature     Light Source

1000-2000 K   = Candlelight

2500-3500 K   = Tungsten Bulb (household variety)

3000-4000 K   = Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky)

4000-5000 K   = Fluorescent Lamps

5000-5500 K   = Electronic Flash

5000-6500 K   = Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead)

6500-8000 K   = Moderately Overcast Sky

9000-10000 K = Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky

camera white balance

How Important is Adjusting the White Balance?

Since dissimilar sources of light have varying color hues, a photograph taken with a usual white balance under simulated lighting settings transmits the low heat to your camera’s sensor. This light touches the red bits of the color range, which effects into orange shades or gloomy yellow in the photograph. As seen from the eyes it automatically adjust to altered lights and color temperatures to reproduce the right color, a camera requires to be attuned to different lights for precise color reproduction. By correcting the white balance setting of your digital camera, you can change the required temperature or light to produce the most truthful color rendition in a digital photograph.

Understanding the Preset White Balance Settings

To further understand the white balance, here are the different pre-set white balance settings.

  • Auto – it automatically adjusts the white balance according to the varying lighting conditions, but you can also use other modes to get different results.
  • Tungsten – This mode is suggested for light under a little bulb like tungsten, and it is always used when shooting indoors. The tungsten setting of the camera produces a cooler temperature in photos.
  • Fluorescent – This mode recommended for brighter and warmer shots while reimbursing for the cool dimness of fluorescent light.
  • Daylight – This mode is ideal for normal day shooting under a light setting outdoors. Most cameras though, don’t have the Daylight mode.
  • Cloudy – This mode is perfect for photographing on a cloudy day. This mode warms up the surroundings and the subject itself. This also allows you to photograph better images.
  • Flash – The flash mode is recommended when there is insufficient lighting available. This mode aids in achieving the right White Balance value during low light conditions.
  • Shade – A shaded shooting location normally produces bluer or cooler pictures, henceforth you must warm up the surroundings when shooting shaded subjects.

Here goes the brief overview about white balance. I do hope that after reading this brief article, you will have a clear notion of how white balance works and affects the way photographers captures produces stunning images.

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About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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