When you take a picture, the camera attempts to white balance. Now, most of you shoot with an auto white balance, where the camera measures the scene, and attempts to properly expose for the color temperature. On a scientific scale, this often involves the degrees Kelvin, and what happens here is that the color of light is measured, and then the camera compensates. If you're under sunlight, candlelight, fluorescent lighting, everything looks a bit different, especially to the camera. Now, if you're in mixed lighting situations, or your camera doesn't measure properly, you may have to fix the white balance after the fact.
This photo isn't bad, but what I want to do is zoom in. So I'll mouse over here, and press 2 to go to 200%, and I'm looking for something that's white. Taking the eyedropper here and clicking, you'll see that the camera dramatically changes. Now, that particular area I zoomed in on focus wasn't really tightly focused, but that's okay. I was focused more for the mid-ground here, and given the size that I'm going to print this at, I think that's all right. Let's go over here to the next image, and you'll really see the color balance issue.
In this case, we're under mixed lighting. We have overhead fluorescent lights, with sunlight coming in from the side of the image. Now, it's not terrible, but I do want to zoom in here to something that's white. Looking at her shirt here, there is a lot of movement, so you see some motion blur. This is a low light shot, with a lot of movement, but that's okay. The face is in pretty good sharpness. With the adjustments tab open, I could take the eyedropper here, and click on something that should be white.
And when we zoom back out, you'll see that it's been changed, and the color temperature shifted slightly. Using this allows you to go ahead and automatically adjust what's happening here with the color cast. Now, I have one more photo, and you see that the white balance is definitely off for this image. Zooming in to 200%, taking the white eyedropper, I can go ahead and click on something that should be white, and if we zoom back out, you see that it looks dramatically different.
The Temperature slider moved very far to the left to compensate for color spill, and that color spill was caused by the fact that we were under mixed lighting, the overhead lights of the church, plus all of this candlelight, which was much warmer than the overhead lighting.
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