Custom White Balance

Custom White Balance Techniques

Learn Custom White Balance Techniques

Should I use Auto or Custom White Balance?

Part 3 

Here are three golden rules for when to use Auto White Balance:

1- You have a newer digital camera

2- You have something white or gray in your subject

3- You have one dominant source of light, not a mixture of light sources.

If none of these apply, then a custom white balance setting would be a good option, especially if you shoot primarily in Jpeg format.

Custom White Balance
Auto White Balance, as the white colour is presented in the image will work fine
Custom White Balance
Custom White Balance as there is no White or Grey in the scene.


What is a custom White Balance?

In custom White Balance you tell your camera what is white or gray and the camera will set the other colours for you. Your camera will remember this custom setting until you change it again.

What is a Gray Card?

Wikipedia defines gray card as below:

“A gray card is a middle gray reference, typically used together with a reflective light meter, as a way to produce consistent image exposure and/or color in film and photography.”

In Digital photography we can use an 18% neutral gray card not only to set the exposure but also to adjust the White Balance.

Custom White Balance
Using a Grey card to set the custom White Balance
Custom White Balance
Custom White Balance Technique using Grey card


How to set Custom White Balance?

In general you register a neutral gray or white colour in your camera as a reference and the camera will adjust the colours automatically. The steps vary from one manufacturer to another. (For more information please refer to your camera instruction manual). Generally speaking you need to do these steps:

1-Take a picture of a neutral gray or white paper

2-Go to the camera menu and select “PRE” or Custom White Balance”

3-Refer camera to the photo that you took in step one, to use it as the colour reference

4-Register the custom White Balance.

Now your camera is set to right colour temperature for the light source and will remember it, even if you turn off the camera.

Does this mean that I have to do custom White balance for each and every picture?

No. As long as the light source and its brightness stay the same you don’t need to change the White Balance setting. However when you change location (for instance from shade to sun, or from one room to another room), or the light changes (such as at Sunset or Sunrise when the light changes rapidly), you need to redo the Custom White Balance.

To learn more about Digital Camera Photography visit our Upcoming Classes page to find a workshop that covers your questions.

Enjoy the Custom White Balance Techniques and Stay tuned for our next Photo tip.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

September Digital Camera Bootcamp is sold out. Our next Digital Camera Bootcamp is Scheduled for January 13, 2016. It is an eight week program with two field trips, one for day time photography and one for night time photography.

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