You will probably already be familiar with the White Balance (WB) button on your camera, but do you know what it actually does? For this assignment, you will learn its role and discover that it is a function you can also use creatively.
White Balance is designed to neutralize color casts produced by various light sources. Cameras are programmed with a choice of presets to mimic common light types, such as Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, and Incandescent lighting, for instance. However, the camera’s Auto WB setting will normally do a great job of recording the light’s temperature faithfully, and this is the setting you are normally recommended to use. But whoever said you have to record the light’s color faithfully? You can also use White Balance to artificially warm up or cool down a scene, and so influence the mood of the image. Here’s your chance to try it for yourself …
Take a series of shots of the same image using each one of your camera’s various WB preset values. Compare the results side-by-side. You will see the Cloudy and Shade settings make the scene warmer-perfect for enhancing a sunset or fall color. In contrast, the Tungsten and Incandescent presets will cool down the image with an icy-blue hue. Once you understand its role, you can deliberately mismatch White Balance to create color casts for added drama and visual impact.
View the images
- If you shoot images in Raw format, you can quickly and precisely adjust White Balance during post-processing. However, if you capture JPEGs, it is more important to get the White Balance the way you want it in-camera
- In addition to the camera’s WB presets, you can dial in your own custom Kelvin value, or color temperature. This ranges typically between 2,500 and 1 0,000K, but depends on the camera model-the higher the value, the warmer the resulting image will appear.