Understanding White Balance and How to Use It

Understanding White Balance

Understanding White Balance and How to use it for beginners. The white balance setting on your camera controls the “colour temperature” of your image. Have you ever noticed when shooting an image that it may sometimes appear a little too orange or blue!

By adjusting the white balance you get more accurate colours simply by changing the coolness or warmth within the camera.

Different light sources give different colour temperatures e.g. fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast and light bulbs add a yellow to orange cast!

The white balance also changes outdoor between overcast, cloudy days to sunny days with bright blue skies including colours within your subject.

Understanding White Balance Settings for Beginners

Auto – This setting is when the camera works out the aperture, natural light etc and adjusts it for you. Most cameras have an ‘auto’ setting which is usually very accurate but there are times when the camera can get it wrong!

Daylight – The daylight settings add some bluish tones. You may not see much difference between this and the auto setting.

Cloudy – This is an ideal setting adding a touch of warmth to your shot. This can also be used in direct sunlight adding a little more warmth than the ‘daylight’ mode.

Tungsten – Cooling down the colours it’s used for shooting indoors under bulb lighting. I find this setting a little too blue.

Fluorescent – This does the opposite to tungsten and compensates for the cool fluorescent light.

Flash – Using your flash especially the pop-ups produces a lot of blue tones so this setting will slightly warm up your shots

You may ask “What is the best setting?” This would depend on the scene and your creativity.

Cambridge Sheep Farm during Sunset

Why not experiment and try numerous settings until you feel you get the image you want. Sometimes breaking the rules can get amazing results. Happy shooting.