The white balance - Photography Course - Lesson 29

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

The white balance (WB), is often used in marriage photography where is important for the bride's dress to be of a pure white unaltered by color dominance; here we’ll reconnect to the concept expressed in the article "Black and white or Color?" were I explained that our brain in these cases considers more realistic an "unreal" situation because in our head the bride's dress is white.

To correct the color dominance we have two options, we can set in our camera the kind of light source or balance the white in post-production (suggested).

In my Nikon D90 the white balance is set on AUTO, entering the menu there are different kinds of WB.

For example, if in the scene there are incandescent lights you have just to choose the corresponding WB and the camera will compensate the lights to obtain a white subject and neutral tones.

The lights are not all the same, compared in both quality and quantity, for example there's difference among an incandescent light, a neon and the sunlight, the light quality is different in terms of color temperature, for example the light of an incandescent lamp is considered hot, while a neon light is considered cold.

The neutral light is defined "Day light" and it corresponds to the sunlight in a sunny day, not cloudy at noon.
If you are used to post production you don't need to set the WB in your camera because you can obtain excellent and moreover customizable results in post-production.

Always take your photos in RAW format for the reasons explained previously, open the file with camera raw, lightroom or any other software, you'll be able to apply the color temperature that you like without loss of time during the shooting phase.

Remember that the WB doesn’t always have to be perfect, because a complete correction could kill the feeling, in substance don't just follow the rules, be creative and entrust your personal taste!

Related article: The gray card and its use - Photography Course - Lesson 30

Translation by Nina Kozul

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