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White Balance

WB - Setting on your camera

Our eyes almost instantaneously adjust to differing light conditions, you walk from bright sunlight into a dark room and you won’t notice the ‘colour cast’ as it is known, but your camera will. Increasingly digital cameras are pretty good at adjusting to these conditions, but there are occasions when you’ll need to give them a helping hand.

The three main lighting conditions or WB settings on a DSLR are:

Daylight - Fluorescent - Incandescent

White balance daylightWhite balance fluorescentWhite balance incandescent

Daylight is obviously aimed at outside use in good light
Fluorescent: For use indoor when fluorescent bulb are the main lighting
Incandescent: For use with tungsten based, old-fashioned house bulbs

On most camera’s you can set the strength of these WB setting, to compensate for the amount of colour cast present.

Manual White Balance

When trying to make accurate copies, of art work for example, it is often wise to use the custom light balance setting. To do this on most DSLRs you simple need something white, a sheet of paper will do nicely. Then follow the guidelines in your manual, they should be something like this:

In the white balance menu select ‘White balance preset’.
You can then choose between measuring off a white surface or using an existing shot, for the later you first need to take an image of a white bit of paper in the environment you intend to shoot in first, then select this image.
Or to measure simply follow the prompts from the camera, normally this involves pointing the camera at a white sheet of paper and half depressing the shutter.

Your camera is now calibrated to that environment.

Remember to reset to ‘Auto’ white balance (WB) when you are done!

© Nigel Watts 2011-2016 Contact/About