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Shooting with the Nikon D800
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Adjusting white balance manually


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Shooting with the Nikon D800

with Ben Long

Video: Adjusting white balance manually

Most of the time Auto White Balance will be all you need to get good color in your images, but there will be times when Auto White Balance might fail. Shade and clouds can cause your images to appear too cool when you're using Auto White Balance. Here is a situation where we have mixed lighting. We've got daylight, balanced lights mixed with tungsten light, and it's causing a big color shift. Those are white flowers back there, but as you can see, they are appearing a little bit yellowish or orangish. I'm going to turn on Live View on my camera right now.
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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Shooting with the Nikon D800
5h 4m Beginner Nov 08, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, photographer and author Ben Long details the features, controls, and options in the Nikon D800 digital SLR. The course begins with an overview of what a digital SLR is and a tour of the camera's basic components. Ben then discusses the camera's basic operation: changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in automatic mode, reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen, and transferring photos to a computer.

Next, the course introduces more advanced exposure options: program mode, exposure compensation, ISO adjustments, and more. After Ben briefly defines each option, he shows how to adjust it using the camera's controls.

Ben also discusses white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, live view, and video shooting. The course ends with a chapter on maintenance, including sensor- and camera-cleaning and care tips.

Topics include:
  • What is a DSLR?
  • Attaching lenses
  • Powering up and down
  • Formatting the media card
  • Holding the camera
  • Shooting in the Auto and Program modes
  • Changing the ISO
  • Controlling autofocus and white balance
  • Using a self-timer
  • Working with the exposure control options
  • Activating Live View
  • Shooting video
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear
Software:
D800
Author:
Ben Long

Adjusting white balance manually

Most of the time Auto White Balance will be all you need to get good color in your images, but there will be times when Auto White Balance might fail. Shade and clouds can cause your images to appear too cool when you're using Auto White Balance. Here is a situation where we have mixed lighting. We've got daylight, balanced lights mixed with tungsten light, and it's causing a big color shift. Those are white flowers back there, but as you can see, they are appearing a little bit yellowish or orangish. I'm going to turn on Live View on my camera right now.

This is something you haven't seen yet, and we're going to be devoting an entire chapter to it. But I think this process that I'm about to show you is going to be a little easier to understand if you can see what the camera is seeing. So here you can see that my white flowers here don't actually look white. I'm going to go ahead and take a picture of this, to capture a record of our bad auto white balance, and now I'm going to try to fix it using Manual White Balance. I'm going to turn Live View off because you cannot do this next step with Live View on.

Auto White Balance has gone awry, so I have a few different options. I could go to one of the predefined white balances, such as Daylight or Cloudy or Florescent or something like that, but there is not going to be a predefined white balance for this particular lighting situation that I am in. So instead, I'm going to have the camera manually white balance. So to do that I press the White Balance button just like I always would to change white balance and I use the main command dial to come all the way over here to where it says PRE.

That stands for preset white balance. I'm going to define a preset white balance. I can have up to four of them. I'm currently setting number one. If I wanted to store this in a different location, I would just turn the subcommand dial. So I can keep up to four different custom white balances. Now I'm going to let go with the button and I'm going to press it again and hold it down until the PRE starts flashing. Then I'm going to ask Loren to move in a piece of white foam core. It doesn't have to be foam core, and it doesn't have to be Loren either; he just happens to be here holding a piece of white foam core.

So I need something that's white or a neutral gray; it could just be a piece of paper. I need it to fill most of the frame, and I need it to be in the light. Notice he is not putting it right here in front of the camera; he is putting it out there where the problem light is. Now I've lost my flashing PRE, so I'm going to have to do that again. I'm going to press and hold this and wait for it to start flashing, and now I'm just going to take a picture. Now I'm not actually taking a picture. It's saying Good now. What this is telling me is that it's successfully measured white balance in that scene and it stored it away.

Okay, Loren, take out our white balance card there. And here are our flowers. Now they still look the same to us obviously because we haven't changed the lighting, but I'm going to turn on Live View now, and it should show us an image using our new white balance, and it's way out of focus. That's because it refocused on the card. So I'm just going to refocus the camera here, and look here. Now my flowers actually look white. I'm going to go ahead and take that shot so that we can look at a before-and-after. Here's the shot that I just took with my manual white balance.

Here's the shot that I tool before with Auto White Balance. So as you can see there is a big shift in color. This one is very warm and red, this one is much cooler, and those are a little more accurate white. These may not look perfectly white on your screen. I don't know what your computer monitor looks like, and there's going to be a lot going on between the time that this video is captured, edited, compressed, and so on and so forth. So trust me that the white balance is working here to give me a very accurate white. Now you may think, "Well, you know it looks white, but I like the first image better." And I think maybe I do too.

I like the warmth of this image. That's an aesthetic decision, though. That has nothing to do with accuracy. This is a more accurate image, in terms of the original color of the flowers. My recommendation is to always go for accurate color, because you can always warm and cool things later, or skew the color any way that you want. It's very difficult to correct a bad white balance later, especially if you're shooting JPEG. If you're shooting RAW, it's much easier. But it's--even if you're shooting RAW, it's nicer to go for accurate white balance in-camera to save yourself the trouble of correcting it later.

Now in addition to defining a preset white balance the way that we did here, you can also copy a white balance from a photo that's already on your card. You can see more about how to do that on page 158 of your manual. If you find yourself moving between a couple of different lighting situations, problem lighting situations regularly, then you might define a couple of preset white balances. For example, if I was going to be regularly shooting in this environment over the next few days, I would know that my preset d-1 white balance is correct for this lighting.

If I had a different situation that was causing trouble, I could go here to d-2, manually white balance there, and shoot under that kind of lighting. When I came back to this lighting, all I would have to do to get correct white balance is press my White Balance button, turn my subcommand dial back to d-1, and I would be back to that white balance that we just defined and that's correct for this lighting. So I'm going to keep four of these manual white balances going at once. One of the most important things to understand about what balance is it's not all just about how you drive your camera. To really do a good job of getting good white balance you first have to recognize when something is off in your scene, and that can be tricky because your eye is always doing an equivalent of white balance and correcting color as you go.

So be sure to pay attention as you change lighting. Look for something white in your scene. See if it actually looks white. If you're shooting portraits, see if the flash tones look warm or if they look a little too cool. You've got to learn to start paying attention to the color in your scene so that you can take better use of the white balance, and especially manual white balance, capabilities of your D800.

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