Get Woke On White Balance

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Like most things in photography (and life), when done well… they go unnoticed.  White balance is one of those things.

Good white balance is about matching the settings on the camera with the color temperature outside.  Without getting to scientific, here’s an overview of color temperature, which is measured in Kelvin (K).  

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Download This Helpful Chart

Luckily cameras have presets that keep us from having to guess the correct light temperature, but it’s still good to get a basic understanding of what type of light produces which temperature.  Presets aren’t always perfect.  

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Learning to see color temperature takes a little bit of time and practice.  Generally speaking, photos in the daytime have a ‘warm’ look, while night photos have a ‘cool’ look.  

Colors and Mood

Artists often use color temperature to convey mood.  Blue is usually used to convey sadness, mystique, or calmness.

How does this photo make you feel?

How does this photo make you feel?

Orange or red symbolize life and vibrancy.  The sun is orange.  It gives us life.  Red is also the color of blood.  It makes more alert.  Warm images tend to perk us up or grab our attention.

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Bad White Balance

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One of the surest ways to look like a noob photographer is to have bad white balance, especially in skin tones.  An addition to using the correct camera settings for the environment, photographers also have a couple other methods of ensuring good white balance:

1) Lightroom/Photoshop

  • Lightroom: Identify the whitest point in an image and tell the program to adjust the photo to match it.  Use the big eyedropper tool in the adjustments panel.  Use it to select the whitest or blackest part of the image.  Simply click and the image will adjust accordingly.  If this doesn't give you the right look then just manually adjust it by using the two sliders on the top right to adjust the image to the correct white balance.  
  • Photoshop: Go to Image> Adjustments> Levels> Then select the ‘white point’ eyedropper and click on the whitest part in the image.  Go to Image> Color Balance> Then adjust the sliders until the image looks balanced.  

2) White Balance Cards

  • Simply place these cards in a scene, then using method 1, click on the card to define the grey, white, or black of an image.  

 

See a demo on YouTube:

More from Andrew Haimerl:

Download some of these photos for free from my Unsplash page, use my map to find this and other shooting spots in Taiwan, or check out my Lightroom filters, portfolio critique service, and other services.

你可以在 Unsplash 免費下載這些照片或是更多,看看"我的地圖"尋找這些地點或是更多攝影地點,或是看看我的Lightroom filters, 作品集,服務項目

Here are my product recommendations for people looking to get into photography: BudgetMid-Range, and Baller.

 

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