White Balance

Understanding White Balance


Anyone with a digital camera must be aware of the term white balance. Back in the days of film, photographers were not adjusting the white balance on their cameras. The film was based on the color temperature of light which could either adjust for daylight or tungsten light. However, with the introduction of digital camera photographers now enjoy the freedom and time in creating images.

What Is White Balance in a Camera?

Have you taken a picture inside without a flash and the picture turned out orange? The reason is that the image wasn’t properly white balanced. A well balanced white color will yield images with a neutral color tone. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the way color in photography works to achieve a higher impact on your photos. The correct white color balance is one aspect that has often misunderstood or overlooked. Therefore, beginners in the field need to be informed about the color temperature of light as well as balancing your camera to get a correctly exposed photograph. All colors should appear as they are regardless of lighting condition; green objects should appear green, with white objects appearing white, alike.

Automatic White Balance

All digital cameras have automatic white balance features with some also having a manual white balance feature. Automatic white balance attempts to balance a scene’s color temperature correctly regardless of the light sources available in the view. For example, fluorescent lights have a color temperature that emits a green color cast. Automatic white balance attempts to correct this green color cast allowing objects in the scene appear normal. Cameras with manual white balance options enable the photographer to adjust the camera’s white balance settings manually in greater detail.

White Balance setbacks

The automatic white balance does an excellent job in most cases, but certain conditions fool the camera’s built-in technology. More so, a scene that has multiple light sources of different colors temperatures may often fool the camera’s white balance sensors. The view requires a manual white balance adjustment that is also capable of dealing with small objects surrounded by a vast expanse of light that is also likely to fool the white balance sensors. It makes the white balance adjustment to offset a red barn, for example, a child standing in front of a red barn. The image will result in a picture containing too much cyan while the opposite color is red.


The technology of a digital camera has supposedly ease photography. However, an extra effort in learning how things work will keep you at the edge in dealing with tricky lighting situations to improve your picture’s quality.

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