Digital Cameras White Balance Presets
As discussed in the previous article (White Balance in Digital Photography), our digital cameras do not have a brain to adjust for colour cast. Almost all new digital cameras come with Auto White Balance, some sort of White Balance Presets and a Custom White Balance setting.
What is Auto White Balance?
Each digital camera has the data of thousands of images built into its processor. When you use any of the auto modes (Auto White Balance, Auto Exposure, Auto area auto focus, etc.) the camera compares the scene to the data of these images and selects the one that is closest. Therefore, the result might be close or be quite far from accurate colour and exposure.
You may have noticed that the newer digital cameras take better photos. It is not because these cameras are better made, but mainly because the manufacturers added more data to the newer camera to use as references!
When should I use Auto White Balance?
This being said, if you have a newer digital camera and are taking pictures with only one source of light, the Auto White Balance will create a decent image for you. If there is more than one source of light (e.g. daylight from a window and tungsten light of an indoor lamp) the chances are higher that your camera can’t make the right decision, which will result in a heavy colour cast in your image.
White Balance Presets
In most cases the Auto White Balance does a better job than Presets, but if you are using a flash as your main source of light, then it is a good idea to set the White Balance to Flash.
The White Balance Presets are useful in certain conditions which I will discuss them in our Photography Bootcamp class. You can experiment with these presets and find out which one works better under certain light condition.
What are White Balance Presets?
All digital cameras contain a variety of white balance presets. These presets are tuned to provide a fixed correction for common lighting scenarios. However, the camera relies on you to choose the right setting for the scene. The most popular presets are:
- Direct Sun
The description and symbol for the above presets are just rough estimates for the actual lighting. In fact, cloudy could be used in place of daylight depending on the time of day or degree of haziness. In general, if your image appears too cool on your LCD screen preview (regardless of the setting), you can quickly increase the colour temperature by selecting a setting further down on the list above. White Balance presets are not always accurate: for example, the colour temperature for a shade area varies from summer to winter.
Below are sample photos that I took. The camera was set on a tripod, and I just changed the white balance presets, and for the last photo, I used the Auto White Balance.
Auto White Balance
From the above photos, I personally like the Cloudy preset better than the others. Therefore, experimenting with different White Balance Presets gives you a better chance on creating pleasing colours in photos.
That is all for now. Stay tuned for my next photography Tips. We love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions, feel free to send us your questions and we will be more than happy to answer them. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Free Tutorials and Tips.
Ted and the Omnilargess Team