what is white balance in photography

What is white balance in photography

Hi my lovely readers, how are you today? In this article, I will talk about what is white balance in photography.

Has it ever happened to you to take a picture and in the final process it came out too blue or too yellow? These colors indicate that the white balance was not set properly according to the environment.

Cameras are very sensitive to colors, this is why you don’t see the actual colors from the environment as you see with naked eyes, through the camera.

What is white balance in photography?

The purpose of the white balance is to adjust the color temperature according to the environment in your image.

Adds the opposite color to the image in an attempt to balance the color temperature to bring it in neutral. In other words, the white balance will adjust the colors in the image to look more natural.

What is the color temperature?

Color temperature is a numerical measuring system for cool and warm colors. It is measured in degrees Kelvin(K). The blue colors in the image indicate cooler tones and the yellow colors warmer tones.

To make it more simple, think of color temperature as the weather. In the summertime when is warm outside the colors in the scene are yellow and in the winter when is cold the colors are blue.

But, the cameras are not that smart to see the actual colors. This is why we have to know how to set the white balance. For most beginners is a little confusing what is white balance in photography. Because of the high numbers in cooler tones and low numbers in warm tones in the color temperature. Just keep in mind that a low number is warm and high numbers are cool.

What is white balance in photography
Bhutajata, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to set white balance?

To set the white balance, look for the WB button on Canon cameras, and on Nikon cameras press the i button and look for white balance settings.

What is white balance in photography

You will have something like this on the screen. The sun symbol is for outdoor scenes in the clear sky, the house symbol for shade, the cloud symbol is for cloudy days, the bulb is the tungsten light which is used indoors, the neon symbol is for indoors under fluorescent light. And the lightning symbol is for flash photography. The last symbol is used to customize white balance.

As a beginner, you can start by setting your camera to auto-white balance. The AWB will help the camera take images with more natural light and adjust to the environment.

In summary

White balance is as important as ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. If you set it incorrectly, your images will come out too blue or too yellow, in some cases grey. But, sometimes, you will want to set the white balance to a certain K to create special effects or mood in the image.

As I said in other articles, play with the setting to get used to them. Play with white balance to see each setting what effect has upon the images.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Be safe and take care.

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