white balance

Have you heard the term white balance? What is white balance? Have you ever seen pictures that appear to be too blue (“cold”) or too orange (“warm”)? The white balance is likely off.

Here’s an unofficial definition of white balance from my little definitions page
White balance: Sometimes an image can look too blue or too orange, in these cases the white balance is off. The white balance is what creates the realistic color cast for your image. Just remember with accurate white balance, white color in real life should look white in a picture.

I happen to use a white balance target to create custom white balance in many situations. Not in all situations. But in many. In real, normal life… the part of life that includes swim lessons, birthday parties, bike riding, etc, I choose to use “auto white balance”. But in those times when I have an extra couple of minutes, I choose custom white balance. Here is a before picture of some white papers under some indoor tungsten lighting…

white balance

Then, I take a picture of my white balance target in order to show my camera what white looks like in this particular lighting situation…

white balance target

And… then after changing a couple of settings in my camera (open your manual to see how to set custom white balance), then here’s the same shot in the same lighting…

white balance

Closer to true white. Right?