Using White Balance Creatively

Using your camera's white balance mode in new and creative ways

03/02/2012 - 00:00

Your Pentax digital camera has a setting that automatically measures the colour of the light and sets it so that whites appear white. It's called the white balance and can usually be switched to manual if you need to override the auto setting. And that's what this article is about - the creative use of white balance.

Temperature
Light Source
800-1800°K Embers to Candle Flame
2750-3000°K House lightbulbs (40-500w)
3000-3350°K Studio Photoflood bulbs
4100-4150°K Moonlight
5000°K Daylight / electronic flash
6000°K Sun high in sky (noon)
6500-7000°K Overcast daylight
6500°K Computer screen
10,000°K Heavily overcast/shade
First a bit of background. The light around us varies in colour depending on the source. This variation is called colour temperature and is measure in degrees Kelvin. Colour temperature ranges from 800°K, which is the colour of light emitted from fire embers, through to 10,000°K of a heavily overcast day. The colour at the 800°K end of the scale is red and at the 10,000°K end it's blue.

The job of the camera's white balance setting is to detect the approximate colour of the scene and then adjust it so the photograph records with a mid setting of around 5000°K daylight.

This is fine in most circumstances, but occasionally the camera gets it wrong and for this reason there's the option to override. On the Pentax K-5, for example, there are settings for Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent light (D, N, W, L), Tungsten light, Flash, CTE. There's also Manual with the option to set colour temperature from 2500 to 10,000K in 100K steps)

Just as a side note here. If you shoot in RAW these settings are not important. White balance can be set after in your RAW editing program, but for those who shoot in jpeg it would be normal practice to get it right in camera. Or being creative getting it wrong can produce better results!

You don't have to set the white balance so it look natural...the wrong setting can be applied to add a colour cast. How white balance works is to measure the colour of the scene and add the necessary filtration to bring it back to that mid day setting. So if the shot is being taken in candle light, the camera will measure the orange and throw in lots of blue filtration to counteract and balance the light.

And that's where we can use this to our advantage. If we set the tungsten light setting in daylight. It will adjust the photo so it's really blue. And if we set to cloudy in daylight it will add a warm hue. So you can change the mood of the photo. Have a go don't do what the camera says. The beauty with digital is you can take a shot and check the result straight away. Do a test and run through all the settings and take a photo at each. You'll notice some only have subtle variations in tone, but that subtle change can be enough to make a model's skin warmer toned, or remove a colour cast in snow, or make a beach scene look a little more tropical.

Here's an example of what the auto setting produced when photographing two wine bottles against a window blind.

Wine bottles against a window blind on auto

And here's the same picture taken with the white balance set to fluorescent light.

Wine bottles against a window blind on fluorescent setting

This is a landscape taken at twilight on the auto setting.

Landscape on auto

And the same shot taken on the shade setting has given the photo an orange glow.

Landscape on shade setting

While on the tungsten setting the picture is much cooler.

Landscape on tungsten setting

Have a go at being creative with white balance and post your results in the Pentax User Gallery.


Related Photos

mazebyzeqo

Link Posted 16/11/2018 - 06:47
An article of the white balance is created for the benefits of the businessmen. The flow of the balance and assignments online australia is punctuated for the wide arrangement of the blocks for the parents of the current field and problems.

leo383

Link Posted 10/12/2019 - 20:14
Never thought to use white balance creatively like this. Nice tips. Thanks.
Leo - fencing fort wayne | https://fencingtampafl.com | fence companies tulsa ok | https://fencecompanytylertx.com

timeone

Link Posted 31/01/2020 - 00:20
Very good stuff to know. I'm going to remember this for an upcoming medieval project where I'll be photographing castles. Great stuff!

hunter097

Link Posted 18/04/2020 - 17:38
Hello, this weekend is good for me, since this time i am reading this enormous informative article here at my home. 토토사이트

hunter097

Link Posted 23/04/2020 - 16:27
Hello, this weekend is good for me, since this time i am reading this enormous informative article here at my home. ข่าวฟุตบอล

Allenseo

Link Posted 17/05/2020 - 11:25
I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. authority backlinks

Allenseo

Link Posted 18/05/2020 - 09:26
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. terrier puppies

Allenseo

Link Posted 20/05/2020 - 10:38
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. website design in Glendale

Allenseo

Link Posted 21/05/2020 - 07:46
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. https://magnitico.com

Allenseo

Link Posted 21/05/2020 - 09:22
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. is airbnb safe to book

Allenseo

Link Posted 22/05/2020 - 16:24
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. https://www.matchfinder.in

Allenseo

Link Posted 23/05/2020 - 07:51
Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. LYPO SPHERIC VITAMIN C storage in body

Allenseo

Link Posted 23/05/2020 - 08:12
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. When you travel

AnthonyScott

Link Posted 02/10/2020 - 11:55
Pretty good website and content. Fence Company Wilmington NC

kupyb

Link Posted 25/01/2021 - 12:49
Electricity bill in foreign countries like to come in fixed ratio irrespective of fact of your consumption. Your http://www.charlestonspar.com about reducing bill in Hawaii is not useful. Because, none of these facts happened anywhere in such countries.

kupyb

Link Posted 26/01/2021 - 03:20
Excavator types of bucket are the new things to be explored up. The https://bricklayinglakemacquarie.com.au is an extraordinary approach to find out about the new and the in vogue names of the things which can pull in the general population. But still good to read these things.

kupyb

Link Posted 31/01/2021 - 16:34
Mitsubishi of Tokyo needs not to be mixed with Mitsubishi Company. Because, they are two different timber joinery companies. One is related to automobile while other is related to providing financial services to that company.

Gina

Link Posted 12/05/2021 - 13:27
Thank you for sharing your talent with everyone. You are an inspiration. best steam carpet cleaners

wastingreds

Link Posted 01/03/2022 - 06:05
Thank's a lot of us to sharing my coomment..yes i believed thats a big achivment. Rugby League World Cup live

stevesmith11

Link Posted 24/04/2022 - 12:41
Geriatricians are always busy in dealing with wide range of health issues related to the aging that include the chronic diseases and the deteriorating conditions. These chronic diseases are more common in older people as compared to the younger ones and such patients need an extensive care. Geriatric medical billing services usa

andrewpk

Link Posted 18/05/2022 - 22:21
A higher risk to consider before you invest in cryptocurrency is that hackers will often favor low asset classes. The biggest threat in this respect is if your wallet is remotely hacked - your entire balance can be stolen in a matter of seconds. So, getting your account secured by trusted bitcoin brokers is a good thing to do with crypto trading.
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.