Adjusting white balance in camera.
A good first step is accounting for white balance in your camera settings. “With white balance, you’re matching the camera to the light source,” says photographer Grace Rivera. Most newer DSLR cameras have powerful automatic white balance (AWB) functions. But if you want to explore custom settings, manual white balance adjustments are also an option; you can choose a setting depending on your light source. “If it’s cloudy, there’s a cloudy day setting. If you’re shooting in bright sunlight, there’s a setting for that,” says Rivera. “You can adjust based on where you are. But I usually use auto white balance and then adjust things in editing after.”
To achieve good in-camera white balance when shooting, consider these factors:
Shoot in the RAW file format.
Putting your camera on the RAW file setting before you shoot is important for post-processing flexibility. This file format preserves all the image data that’s recorded by your camera’s sensor. “RAW allows you to adjust the white balance in post-production effectively,” says Waltz.
Shooting photos with mismatched sources of light will make it more difficult to edit the white balance in post-production. “Try to get your light sources to match,” says Waltz. “If you have somebody lit with an incandescent bulb sitting next to a window on an overcast day, you’re going to have one half of your photo really warm and the other half really cold. In post, it’s hard to fix that.”
A gray card is a square of material specifically shaded at 18 percent gray. This tool helps you find a perfect white balance for scenarios where being exact is the ultimate goal, like product photography or food photography. To set white balance using a gray card, take a shot with the card filling the entire frame. Then go to your camera’s menu, select the option to set a custom white balance, and set it by choosing your photo of the gray card. You can also use shots of your gray card to help fix your white balance in post-production.
There are situations where a skewed color temperature works in your favor. “Say you’re shooting in a dimly lit bar or restaurant. That’s the type of thing where you want to convey that mood. You may want to preserve the color of the ambient light rather than correct it,” says Rivera. “Or say you’re shooting a sunset. An intrinsic part of the picture is the warm light of the sun. You wouldn’t want to auto correct it, because it would turn everything blue.”
Share this article