one of the fun things we learn in my A Bit Beyond the Basics workshop is White Balance.. that little WB button on your cameras – a lot of point and shoots have them also.. i kind of laugh when i see “photographers” images and the skin color is ORANGE or BLUE… i laugh because – it is so obvious when someone is shooting in Auto or has no grasp of what their camera is doing… and just learning (and practicing) a bit, you can dramatically change the quality and consistency of the images you are getting.. if you come to one of my Workshops or we do some one on one Mentoring – we will go over this.. i will share a bit here..
here are three images i took of the trees behind my house…
see how blue that grass is in Auto..
in my Shade, it looks more normal.. there is a bit more warmth to the grass.. it has more yellows in it.. more green..
in my Sunny, it is a tad warmer yet..
take a closer look..
AUTO.. Can you see how BLUE and cool it is? like steely looking..
SHADE – it’s a bit warmer.. a bit more yellows.. like softer looking..
and here.. SUNNY.. warm.. yellower
can you imagine if this was a picture of a person!!!?? how off it could be..
why imagine.. i’ll show you..
just compare the images.. i’m not saying these are great images.. these are where i’d moved to a new lighting and wanted to check my WB..
see how yellow her skin was in the top.. her hair is MUCH more golden in the first image.. you can really see it in her little stripy shirt too..
in these.. the orange shirt is really different..
soooo.. are you seeing it yet??
one last set.. here.. notice her skin.. and her hair… her lips are red in the first..
let’s figure out how to control this White Balance thing..
so… here are my rules..
1. get your camera out.. set it next to you.. you can’t just read this.. you have to go through it..
2. don’t use live view to take pictures, if you have a little view finder – USE IT!!!!
3. move the dial for the modes to Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority or even Custom Auto (that’s the green box with the CA in it).. unless you know what you are really doing, I suggest staying off of Manual for now..
4. TURN YOUR FLASH OFF!!! UGH.. for goodness sake.. if it is popped up.. press it down.. and say “stay”..
those are my rules.. if you don’t want to play by those, i really won’t be of any help to you.. but if’n you do.. read on..
here we go…
find the WB button.. push it.. notice it will have choices for AUTO, sunny, shade, cloudy, maybe some others depending on model.. and some others for indoors.. and custom settings..
each camera is different.. some will shoot WARM (orangy.. or red.. or well, just warmer).. some will shoot COOL… (blue tones… ). you may not notice it much now.. MY camera shoots COOL and DARK.. your camera may shoot really warm – with the exact same settings.. it is important to get to know your camera..
next, i’m going to go in to more detail.. so if you don’t understand the parts in GREEN, just set your mode dial to Custom Auto (the green box with the CA) and play with just adjusting the White Balance.. or if you do know what you are doing – set the green stuff however you want..
1. go outside.. with your camera… take an image of something stationery – grass is great to show wonky WB.. so is things that are Yellow or Green…. set to AUTO White Balance.. for now, let’s leave your ISO on Auto, set your Aperture to the smallest number you have..
2. don’t change your focal length (stay where you are and don’t zoom in or out).. we want the images to be the same for each WB we try out..
(keep in mind Sunny may not be the best setting for you in Sunny conditions.. Cloudy may be great for Sunny – it will take time for you to get the hang of it and how you like your images to look, but you can do it.. if i can do it, TRUST me.. you can do it!!)
3. go in to your WB, change to Sunny.. Take another image of the same thing.. focusing on the same spot..
4. do this again for WB, Shade.. Cloudy.. what ever you have.. try to do them in order so you can look and compare and remember what the heck was what..
now.. take the images off the camera – look at them on your computer.. see how drastically different the colors are? MY camera – Sunny is not always best in a Sunny situation.. Cloudy is not best in Cloudy.. and AUTO works the best inside – not the inside WB settings…
here is the crazy thing.. if you do this little experiment at say, 9:00 AM, your results will most likely be a bit different than at 6:00 PM.. the light is soooo much warmer closer to sunset.. same as if you move to a shady spot, the setting you used out in the sun may no longer apply..
a final tip – unless your monitor is calibrated (google it if you don’t know what that means), there is no sure way to make sure you are seeing what you think you are seeing.. there are lots of ways to quickly *calibrate* on the internet – this is totally fine for most.. but if you are a photographer, you should really already have calibrated your monitors with calibration software.. it’s not too expensive.. each monitor is different.. and needs to be calibrated individually.. if you are not a photographer, it’s not as important.. but if you are taking people’s money, you should be sure…