Color photography: using white balance settings to get the tones you want

Color photography: using white balance settings that work every time

Best white balance settings for color photography: Auto vs Preset

You shouldn’t leave your camera set to auto white balance permanently because it won’t always get it right.

The camera will attempt to analyse the colors in the scene and ‘normalise’ them, but it can often fail to differentiate between the color of the light and the intrinsic colors in the subject itself.

Best white balance settings: Auto vs Preset

Auto white balance

In addition to this, it may attempt to compensate for atmospheric lighting conditions early or late in the day that are actually part of what you’re trying to record.

Finally, where you do want to ‘normalise’ the colors, you’ll find that auto white balance systems usually fail to compensate for extremes of lighting, like the excessive warmth of domestic tungsten lighting or the pronounced ‘coldness’ of the light in deep shade.

Best white balance settings: Auto vs Preset

White balance preset

Indeed, you may find it better to choose your white balance settings manually to suit the conditions, because at least then you’ll know how the camera is going to respond.

Auto white balance systems are not infallible. They’ll often fail to correct adequately for shady conditions, leaving images with a cold, bluish tinge.

Choosing the right white balance preset produces warmer, more realistic-looking colors.

PAGE 1: White balance color quality issues
PAGE 2: Best white balance settings for color photography – Auto vs Preset
PAGE 3: Using white balance to warm up your color photography
PAGE 4: Getting creative with white balance settings

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