The Basics of White Balance

Many beginning photographers do not understand the basics of white balance. It can have a huge impact on your photography, though, so it is worth your time to learn more about it.


The main reason you want to adjust your white balance in your camera is so you can get the colors within your photos to be as accurate as possible. Why is this important? Well, many times when you look at your photos after taking them, you will notice that the photos have a yellow, blue, or orange tint, even though the scene looked normal to your naked eye. This is because different sources of light the image captured have a different temperature or color to them. If you take your photos where there is tungsten light, such as incandescent light or bulbs, your photos will have a yellow tint. Your photos will have a bluish tint when they are taken in florescent lighting.

The range of temperatures you can get go from the warm light of a candle to the coolness of a light blue sky. Our eyes adjust automatically to the temperature of the light, so we don’t generally notice it with her naked eye. This means that unless the lights temperature is extreme, a white cloth will look white to us. A digital camera cannot automatically make the adjustments needed, so we must tell it how to treat the different temperatures of light. When the light is warm, you need to tell it to cool down the temperature. When the light is cooler, you need to tell the camera to warm up the temperature.

To figure out how to adjust the white balance on your camera, you will need to read through your camera’s manual. It will give you the specifics you need on how to make the changes necessary. Better yet, you can search for your camera online to find information from other users to help you figure this out.