Tuesday’s tip… Colour Balance

Ah, Eric gets a chance to be geeky again. I want to talk about colour balance and how it relates to everyday photography.

In the old days almost every type of film for consumer use had a white balance known as daylight. It worked wonders outside, with our flash and was great for almost every lighting situation. The only time that film didn’t handle colour very well was when we were inside and not using a flash.

Bring on digital technology and everyone in the camera shop is talking about white balance and the complicated fact that our cameras have eight or nine different white balance settings. It’s a little confusing. Here’s the quick breakdown of what to do about it, in three easy options.

If you’re really concerned about getting the perfect colour, do what professionals do and white balance every single image.

If you just want to concentrate on taking great photos, then put your camera to “daylight” colour balance and pretend that it’s ten years ago and be happy with great colours in almost every situation. You can change your white balance to “Tungsten” when you’re inside and that will take care of the orange colour cast.

The third option is to set your camera to “Auto White Balance” and let the camera decide what to do. The auto setting in most cameras is pretty good.

Here’s a look at my dessert from tonight with custom, daylight and tungsten white balance settings. I photographed this in our dining room with a normal incandescent bulb.

Daylight White Balance:

Tungsten White Balance:

Custom White Balance:

As you can see, there can be quite a difference in colour between the three options. It all depends on how important “getting it right” is to you.

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