What is White Balance?

As our quiet valley becomes blanketed, (more like buried,) in snow today, it seems fitting to discuss the value of adjusting your camera’s white balance…

Oh, that mysterious white balance.  Maybe you’ve heard of it, saw it once in your camera’s manual that you’ve somehow misplaced, or avoided the button entirely out of fear.  Fret not, adjusting the white balance is not only easy, but it will save you countless hours on the computer trying to correct your colors, or even worse, settling on colors that don’t look right because it’s easier to call it “good enough.”  Sometimes your camera gets the colors just right, sometimes not.  When the colors in your image looks like reality, then your camera is adjusting it’s white balance setting correctly, hooray!  When the colors look “off,” or not what you see when you’re shooting, then it’s time to readjust the camera’s white balance.

White balance is based on what your camera thinks is “white.”  If the camera gets white correct in it’s rendering, then all other colors will be correct.  Conversely, if what your camera thinks is white is not actually white, then all of  the other colors will be incorrect too.

Usually, your camera will do a great job shooting outside in Auto White Balance (AWB,) it’s when you are shooting indoors without a flash that you will probably need to adjust your camera’s white balance.  Keep in mind that your camera is just a super-sophisticated,  fantastic tool that sometimes gets it completely wrong because it’s doesn’t actually know what you’re taking a picture of, or exactly where you are either.   No problem.  It’s time to start talking to your camera, (without looking crazy in public.)

Next in the series, “How to Adjust Your Camera’s White Balance.”

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