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As I've said, Auto White Balance is going to be good for most of the shots that you take. There will be times though when Auto White Balance will fail. Very often if you're shooting in shade or on a cloudy day, you might find that your images appear too cool, or if you're in a situation like we have here where we have a mixed lighting situation, the light on the flowers is warmer than the light on the background, and the scene doesn't look bad. Let me just take a picture of it with Auto White Balance. You can see that it looks pretty good, but the white on the vase, that vase is supposed to be white, the flowers are supposed to be white and they look a little warm.
They've got just a little bit of orange in them, and that's because there is some tungsten light shining into our scene. The background meanwhile looks okay. Let's try a manual white balance to get those whites back to where they're supposed to be, because if whites are in place, the rest of our colors are going to be good also. So, to change to manual white balance I need a reference of something that I know is white. So I'm going to have Josh, a member of our crew, hold in a white card here. Now, notice he is not holding it right in front of the camera, he has put it back there in the scene, so that the light that's falling on the flowers is hitting the card.
Now I'm going to try and take a picture of it. I half press my shutter button and I'm not getting focus, because there is no contrast on that white card. So I'm going to quickly switch to Manual Focus and take a picture. It doesn't even matter if the shot is in focus. See if it's going to do that, and now I've got this. It's just a shot of a white piece of cardboard. Okay, thanks Josh. Now, what I need to do is tell the camera that that is what I wanted to use for its White Balance calculations. So I'm going to go into the menu here and in the second shooting menu the forth item down is Custom White Balance.
I say Set, and it says only compatible image is displayed. What it's wanting me to do is pick the image of the white balance reference that I shot, and that happens to be the last image that I shot, so it comes up. I'm going to hit the Set button and now it says Use White Balance data from this image for Custom White Balance. This is actually a question, so I'm going to say OK. Now, it reminds me to set the White Balance Setting on my camera to this weird little icon which is the icon for manual white balance. Don't ask me what that's supposed to be. I have no idea.
I'm going to say, OK. Now, what I need to do is follow its instructions, and set the white balance. So I'm going to hit my White Balance button here and dial over to Custom. So now it's set for Custom White Balance and what it's going to use for Custom White Balance is that white balance reference card that we shot earlier. So I'm going to take my shot again. Oh, actually first, I'm going to put my camera back on Auto Focus. Now, I'm going to half press to meter, and focus. It beeps, I take the shot, and now we get this. Now, look at the white in the vase, and the white on the flowers.
It actually looks white now. It doesn't have that orange cast. The background looks a little more blue, but that's because the background is not in the light that's striking the flowers. I'm not going to worry about that. Now, you may think well you didn't really fix the image here. It doesn't look as good as it did before. It may be that you decide you like the warmer image better. What we've got here is accurate color, not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing color. I personally think it's better to go for accuracy first, because you can always warm or cool the image later in your Image Editor.
What you cannot do necessarily is correct wildly inaccurate color, and that's something that Manual White Balance is great for getting accurate white balance when you're in lighting situations that are difficult.
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