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Basics – White Balance

White Balance
White balance is the proper rendering of neutral colors, particularly gray, in order to realistically produce colors, red, green and blue to produce the proper mixture of colors in the image.

Most DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras have various ways of adjusting for proper white balance.

Auto White Balance – The camera sensor automatically makes an adjustment for white balance and sets the value.

Tungsten – Assumes shooting in Tungsten lighting conditions.

Fluorescent – Assumes shooting in Fluorsent lighting conditions.

Daylight – Assumes shooting in Daylight lighting conditions.

Flash – Assumes shooting in on or off camera Flash/Strobe lighting conditions.

Cloudy – Assumes shooting in Cloudy lighting conditions.

Shade – Assumes shooting in Shady lighting conditions.

Kelvin Preset – Allows the Photographer to “Dial In” a Kelvin preset for white balance.

Color Temperature

Color Temperature Light Source
1000-2000K Candlelight
2500-3500K Tungsten Bulb (household variety)
3000-4000K Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky)
4000-5000K Fluorescent Lamps
5000-5500K Electronic Flash
5000-6500K Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead)
6500-8000K Moderately Overcast Sky
9000-10000K Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky


Preset: The ability to use a neutral 18% Gray Card/Color Checker Card or “Expo Disc” to set white balance to a reference image in the camera. All images will utilize this “Preset” reference image until otherwise selection is made. See Camera User Guide.

Note: The white balance setting can be adjusted after shooting is completed if the image is shot in RAW digital format utilizing either the camera manufacturers RAW output software or by using the Adobe Raw processinin Adobe Photoshop CS4 Full Version and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Upgrade . Although this is possible, it is my belief that it is best to always capture the image in the camera with Correct Exposure settings to limit post processing or potential inability to correctly post process and image or images.

Robert Shreve Photography

[Part of Chater 4]


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