How to shift and bracket white balance: an easy method for fine-tuning colour

How to shift and bracket the white balance: a simple method for fine-tuning colour

Looking for a simple way to manually fine-tune the colours of your pictures. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to shift and bracket the white balance to get images that look the way you want them to look.

As with most camera settings, you can let the camera handle white balance for you. Your camera’s Automatic White Balance (AWB) option can be relied upon to deliver accurate colours in most situations.

However, there are times when it can come unstuck; low indoor lighting can be a challenge, as can situations where the light is ‘filtered’, such as through the green canopy of a forest.

You might also take shots that would benefit from a little extra warmth or coolness, to enhance the mood, and your camera provides a couple of overrides.

For instance, you can choose to ‘shift’ the white balance, adding or removing amber, blue, green or magenta according to taste. White balance can also be bracketed, just like exposure, to ensure you get one accurate shot.

Step-by-step how to shift and bracket white balance

1. Shift and bracket

Highlight the WB SHIFT/BKT option in your camera’s shooting menu (it’s on the second page of a Canon 7D, which we used, as shown here) and press the SET button. This reveals a grid…

 

2. WB correction

On this grid, B is blue, A is amber, M is magenta and G is green. By moving the marker around (using the thumb stick on our 7D example), you can ‘shift’ the current white balance.

 

3. Auto bracketing

Use the Quick Control wheel to dial in +/-3 levels of white balance bracketing; turn it right for a blue/amber bias or left for a magenta/green bias. Press INFO to clear all settings.

 

4. Warnings

The white balance setting will flash on a camera’s top LCD when WB auto bracketing has been activated. Note that the total number of shots remaining is reduced by a third.

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