White Balance On Your DSLR Camera

Discovering how to adjust the custom white balance on your DSLR camera is an important part of obtaining a perfect photograph. Although it is true that there have been amazing advancements in color management with editing software in the recent past, getting your white balance correct in the camera itself is the best thing you can do for the photograph. This is extremely important to save your time in editing the still photography. If you need to make any changes later, it would be very minor and straightforward as possible. This article provides a comprehensive overview on setting a custom white balance on your DSLR camera.White Balance On Your DSLR

White balance a.k.a. color balance affects how the colors in your image would look. If you want the images to look natural as possible, custom white balancing is an essential task. If the white balance is way off when you are capturing a video or photograph, it can create a horrible scene in the shadow areas of the photograph. You will need to do some heavy editing in the lab if you need to correct the imbalance in such a photograph. This is why it is important that you customize the white balance so that you get the best image possible.

There are many essential tools that will help correct your white balance and make the color management workflow much easier. No matter what model of DSLR camera you are using, you will need to take a photograph of your white balance target at some point of time. Here is how to set the custom white balance in some of the popular DSLR cameras like Canon and Nikon. The first step is to set up your white balance target in the exact lighting condition that you are going to shoot the photo. In fact, you will be calibrating the camera to the exact lighting temperature that should be falling on your subject. When you decide to take the sample photograph, the target should fill the frame as much as possible. Also, you must ensure that your shadow doesn’t cover the target. You need to get your exposure correct when filming the sample image. This will affect how your camera is going to record the white balance. Setting the white balance on Canon or Nikon DSLR cameras is basically same. Here are some of the basic white balance settings you will find on most of today’s cameras.

Auto – The camera will make the best guess on a shot by shot basis. It may work on many situations, but you may have to pay close attention to this aspect in trickier lighting situations. The aforementioned method used for Canon and Nikon is the best example here.

Fluorescent – This is when you take the photos under fluorescent lighting conditions.

Shade – The light in shady situations are generally cooler or bluer compared to shooting in warm sunlight. This mode is going to warm things a bit.

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Cloudy – This setting will warm things up a bit more than the “day light” mode.

Daylight/Sunny – All cameras don’t have this setting since it sets things as “fairly normal” white balance settings.

The aforementioned “preset” white balance modes will help you get a fairly accurate shot in most of the cases. There are some digital cameras that permit manual white balance adjustments, too. The way this is practiced is varied among the numerous models of cameras. But it is important that you tell your camera what white should look like in the image. Now the camera will have some sort of reference point in deciding how the other colors should look. There are white or grey cards available on the market. These cards are specifically designed for this purpose. Manual white balance adjustment is not difficult to do once you have an idea where to do it in the menu of your camera. In fact, it is well-worth learning these tricks and tips.

In conclusion, learning to adjust the white balance on your DSLR camera is one of the most important lessons to take a professional photograph. This article provides a comprehensive overview of adjusting the white balance on your DSLR camera.

Proper White Balance Ep 117: DSLR | Video Skills with Rich Harrington: Adorama Photography TV


AdoramaTV presents DSLR | Video Tips with Richard Harrington. In this episode, Rich shares techniques on how to manually calibrate your DSLR camera for proper white balance. Then, follow along as he gives you a quick look at how to use a 3-way color corrector tool to white balance in post-production. 

Sometimes, using the auto white balance (AWB) option can become problematic. If there is a change in lighting over time, such as a cloud moving in front of the sun, it can cause the AWB to re-adjust during your shot. To avoid this, try using the white balance pre-sets and calibration tools to customize your shooting situation.

AdoramaTV features talented hosts including: Mark Wallace, Gavin Hoey, Joe McNally, Joe DiMaggio, Tamara Lackey, Bryan Peterson, and Rich Harrington.

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If you have questions, share them with us at: adotv@adorama.com