Tuesday, February 23, 2010

White should be white... we're talking cameras here.

Recently I got a quick lesson on White Balance from Shane.  For those of you who are not photography buffs you may be wondering what the hell white balance is.

Have you ever taken a photo inside and it looks yellow or blue?  Or it may not look yellow but it's kind of grainy and certainly doesn't look the way it did in person...  Well that could be because the white balance setting on your camera is all screwed up.  Yep.  So the following pictures were each taken on a different white balance setting.
Auto White Balance

Day Light




So what is white balance?  Well, different light sources can throw different color casts.  In other words, an object's color is going to look different in florescent light than it would in natural light and it will look different in day light then on a cloudy day.  Now you may be thinking that you can't tell the difference.  You would be correct.  Our eyes are good at determining what is white under different kinds of light... our cameras are not.  And here enters WHITE BALANCE.  All of the above photos were taken in my living room under yellow light bulb light.  Each of the above photos were taken with a different White Balance setting.  Do you see how the colors in the pictures change when the white balance setting changes?  You may have to experiment with the different settings while you are taking the photos to decide which setting will work best.  Auto is not always the best setting.  Remember, the end goal is for the white in the picture to look white, not orange or blue or yellow.

So the other day when I was taking beautiful photos of egg in the hole ...  I set the plate next to a window.  At first I had the white balance setting on tungsten, as I figured I had lightbulb light from the ceiling light.  The picture was ugly.  The white of the egg looked blue... Yep.  So I then changed the setting to day light.  The white of the egg looked white!  who'da thunk?

So when I went to Amarillo a few weeks ago and posted picks inside the Big Texan ...  yeah, turns out I had the white balance set on fluorescent the entire time.  Do you notice how the pics are kind of orange? And that is after I tried to correct the color in photoshop.  In hind sight I probably should have had it set to the tungsten white balance setting...

It was after that Amarillo trip that Shane took my camera and asked me why I had the "white balance" set on fluorescent.  And it was then that I asked Shane what the hell he was talking about.

Now I know.  I will never misuse white balance again.  Amen.  

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy you posted this...I have an inkling of photo knowledge, and color theory, but I forgot most of it (way before the waaarrr...as I'm fanning myself). Your post was very helpful. Thank you and thank ya Shane. Haven't checked your blog for a while, but I love it and keep doing please!