Lesson 3: White Balance

by Beth Taylor January. 14, 2018 695 views

White balance in photography is the temperature of the colours in a shot, and how you can adjust them to look more natural. Different types of light emit different colour 'temperatures', with cooler lights giving a blueish tint and warmer lights looking yellow. Whilst our eyes naturally adjust to different colour temperatures, the automatic mode on cameras tries to guess it based on a white reference point, often yielding poor results. In order to avoid this, you can manually set your white balance, or (if shooting in RAW format) you can adjust it afterwards. On most DSLR cameras, there are a few preset white balance options, and also an option to manually change the colour temperature in Kelvins (K). Confusingly, a higher Kelvin temperature (8000-9000K) means a cooler shot, and a lower Kelvin temperature (1000-2000K) means a warmer shot. As well as to make the colour of an image look more natural, you can also use it to gain a certain effect, such as to give an unusual red hue to a picture.

Today, I wanted to test out white balance, but the colour temperature wasn't really an issue in any of my photos as sunlight tends to give a natural look. So I decided to just adjust the white balance to demonstrate the difference it makes to a shot. I was surprised about how a bluer white balance could actually make it look atmospheric, rather than unnatural.

Lower white balance: I like the warmer hue it has added to this shot, especially with the earthy colours of the heather and undergrowth.

Lower white balance: I like the warmer hue it has added to this shot, especially with the earthy colours of the heather and undergrowth.

Higher white balance: I don't think the blue tint compliments this shot, as the original colours are warmer.

Higher white balance: I don't think the blue tint compliments this shot, as the original colours are warmer.

Lower white balance: This emphasises the sunset colours shown in this photo.

Lower white balance: This emphasises the sunset colours shown in this photo.

Higher white balance: I like the effect this has on making the shot look more like it was taken midday day than early evening, with a bluer sky and more obvious clouds.

Higher white balance: I like the effect this has on making the shot look more like it was taken midday day than early evening, with a bluer sky and more obvious clouds.

Lower white balance

Lower white balance

Higher white balance

Higher white balance

This post is part of a series on my channel which I am doing as the first part of my Silver Arts Award in Photography. Part A is when you begin to develop your skills in your chosen art form. I decided to work on my technique, focusing on a different aspect of photography technique each week for 8 weeks. I really appreciate any feedback, positive or negative, on my posts, so please comment anything you'd like to say. I would love it if you would follow me on my journey to try and improve on photography technique!

If you are interested in doing silver arts award, go to their website: http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=64

Please help me complete Part D of my arts award by giving me some information on photography careers: https://www.photoblog.com/forum/t/careeers-in-photography/44360

Source website for this information: https://photographylife.com/what-is-aperture-in-photography

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Marcus Taylor 3 years, 7 months ago

Interesting: this is not  something I was particularly aware of and these examples show really well how much difference it can make, especially in the middle pair, where the time of day appears to alter. More good stuff, Beth.

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
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