Up and Running with Lighting: Natural Light

Setting white balance in camera


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Up and Running with Lighting: Natural Light

with Erin Manning

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Video: Setting white balance in camera

When your camera is set to the automatic white balance setting it adjusts for the color temperature in your scene and makes its best guess for the proper white balance exposure. Rendering the whites in your image a true white, without any strange color casts. In some situations the auto white balance works well and other times you may end up with a color cast. Because the default auto white balance setting doesn't always make the best guess regarding your particular conditions. You need to take control and select one white balance setting for each specific lighting scenario. Digital camera settings vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so check out your owner's manual and find your white balance setting. Scroll to the white balance options, daylight, cloudy, incandescent, tungsten, and any other option your camera has, and pick the one that matches your specific lighting condition.
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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with Lighting: Natural Light
41m 2s Beginner Jun 12, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, photographer and educator Erin Manning shows beginning photographers how to appreciate and work with natural light. First Erin takes a look at the qualities of light, from softness to direction to color, and details the camera settings that help you get the most out of the scene's available light. Then Erin works together with a student to shoot a natural-light portrait, employing inexpensive accessories such as reflectors along the way.

Topics include:
  • Learning to identify the quality of light
  • Avoiding color casts
  • Setting exposure, white balance, and ISO
  • Finding good natural light
  • Reflecting and diffusing light
  • Understanding lighting ratios
Subject:
Photography
Author:
Erin Manning

Setting white balance in camera

When your camera is set to the automatic white balance setting it adjusts for the color temperature in your scene and makes its best guess for the proper white balance exposure. Rendering the whites in your image a true white, without any strange color casts. In some situations the auto white balance works well and other times you may end up with a color cast. Because the default auto white balance setting doesn't always make the best guess regarding your particular conditions. You need to take control and select one white balance setting for each specific lighting scenario. Digital camera settings vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so check out your owner's manual and find your white balance setting. Scroll to the white balance options, daylight, cloudy, incandescent, tungsten, and any other option your camera has, and pick the one that matches your specific lighting condition.

If you aren't sure, just choose one white balance setting for a particular lighting scenario. This way you're assured of the same color cast in all of your images and this saves time later when adjusting multiple images together in an image editing software application. I don't suggest using the auto white balance setting because as you shift your camera the white balance interpretation could change resulting in multiple color casts in your collection images. Some digital cameras have a manual adjustment setting that allows you to dial in a specific Kelvin temperature.

And the most accurate method of setting white balance is to use the custom white balance setting your camera offers. Using custom white balance amounts to shooting a white object as a reference, and then shooting your remaining shots normally. It helps to carry a white piece of paper or a white card or other objects can be used as well such as white shirts, a white door or a concrete driveway. Here is how it's done. First I need to shoot an object as a reference in my image, in my scene. So I want to pick up a white card and have this kind of out in the lighting scenario that I'm going to be photographing.

So let's say I'm going to be photographing something at the end of this table. I'll go ahead and just take a shot. And you don't have to worry about focusing. Just get the picture. So here I've got a shot of the white card. Now I go into my Menu settings. And I'm going to scoot over and choose Custom White balance. And now the camera say's, I want to choose a picture as a reference. And the picture I just shot pops up. And I'll choose Set and then choose OK. And now it's going to say choose the custom white balance setting. So I'm going to click on OK and now I'm going to click on White Balance. And, cycle over to the custom white balance setting. So now, I am custom white-balanced for the white in my scene. So I'll take a shot.

(NOISE) And now, the white is rendered as a true white.

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