What is white balance: common problems (and how to solve them)
Why you should shoot in raw
Where it’s important to get exactly the right white balance, there’s a significant advantage to shooting in
raw. This is because you can adjust the white balance across the entire range, as well as making adjustments, at the editing stage before converting the final image to either a JPEG or a TIFF.
White Balance tool
Using this eyedropper in Adobe Camera Raw enables you to set the white balance by clicking on the image. Click something that’s supposed to be white, neutral grey or pure black in the scene and Photoshop will use that as the basis for removing the colour cast across the entire image.
A drop-down menu enables you to select from a range of presets, in the same way as on your SLR. You can also fine-tune the results using the Temperature and Tint sliders.
All raw-editing programs allow you to alter white balance settings as you process the file. In fact, it’s the first step in the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in that comes with Photoshop CS and Elements.
Using white balance in mixed lighting
Most situations don’t conform to one colour temperature, and you’ll often find yourself photographing in mixed lighting, such as sunlight and shade.
You can either rely on Auto White Balance to choose a setting, or use a preset for the dominant light source. Shooting raw enables you to produce versions of the image with different white balance settings that can then be blended together.
Here, the white balance has been set to Daylight, meaning the sunlit side has the correct colour balance. The side in shadow is rendered with a blue tone as a result
In this image it’s been set to Shade, so the right side of the image is neutral. The sunlit side is too ‘warm’. The left image feels more natural, as we expect shadows to be ‘cooler’
Why it’s OK to set the ‘wrong’ white balance
Auto White Balance can leech all the orange light out of sunrise and sunset shots, because the camera is trying to neutralise the colour, giving rise to washed-out images. Make the most of this time of day by switching to one of the natural light white balance presets – Daylight, Cloudy or Shade settings give
a progressively warmer colour rendition.
Auto White Balance
Using the Auto White Balance (AWB) setting has drained this sunset of its colour
Daylight White Balance
Switching to the Daylight setting brings back the fiery colours of the setting sun
PAGE 1: What is White Balance – all your questions answered
PAGE 2: Why you should shoot in raw; White balance in mixed lighting; Setting the ‘wrong’ white balance
Manual Focus: what you need to know to get sharp pictures
Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings to use)
Depth of field: what you need to know for successful images
99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)
on Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 11:45 am under Beginner.
Tags: camera tips, DSLR tips, white balance