Saturday, December 15, 2012

Photography Tips: Why You Should Set Your White Balance

I wished I had discovered this tip sooner but surprisingly, this is new to me, lol. Anyways, this is a tip that is so simple yet very effective and you will see a significant improvement in the quality of your pictures. Getting the right lighting is tremendously important when you want your pictures to look good. The second thing you need is knowledge of what you can do on the camera before you take the shot. If your picture is nearly perfect from the getgo, you will likely not have to do much editing afterward so prepping for the shot will save you a lot of time by improving the quality of your picture.

As you can tell from the picture above, the image on the left was taken in my bathroom under incandescent light and auto white balance, which causes the colors to look yellow. The image on the right has been color corrected by customizing the white balance. By the way, the images above were taken with my Sony Cybershot DSC-WX9. I think pretty much any digital camera on the market comes with this feature. Setting or customizing your white balance will remove the wrong colors or hues from your shot so that you get colors that are more accurate to what you see with your own eyes. Pretty amazing eh?!!! Believe me, I was stocked when I figured this out.

Please check your user manual on how to set/customize your white balance as there is variation within the brand and camera. But for now I'm just going to show you how I customize my white balance on the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX9 and Canon Rebel T3i so that you can see how simple it is to do. Heck, you may even figured out how to do that on your camera just by reading this.

Your camera will come with some factory set white balance options. The typical ones are auto, daylight, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent, and lastly the custom white balance. You would use any of these to get the hues you want but my favorite of all of these is the custom. It will get you the most color correct possible, if that is what you are going for. Ok, I admit that auto white balance has been the option I've used 99% of the time within the past decade. Thinking about it, how many of you only use auto white balance? I'm willing to bet that unless you are a professional photographer or an amateur, you were probably using auto most of the time too.

For the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX9, go to Menu and select WB Auto and move your selection to the right until you reach the option that allows you to set your white balance. Once you are there, you must point your camera to something white, such as a piece of paper or whatever white you have under the lighting that you are in. Once you have your camera pointed to that white stuff, all you gotta do is press the set or selection button and your camera's sensor will auto correct the colors of your surrounding.

Back to the first picture above, notice the result I got on the right image from setting my white balance. All that yellowness is gone! It's so easy I'm actually mad at myself for not making use of this sooner. But if you were clueless like myself, you are going to love the results once you've figured out how to customize your white balance.

How to set your white balance on the Canon T3i:

1. Take a picture of a white piece of paper or surface, like pictured above.
2. Go to Menu and custom white balance
3. You'll see the white picture you just took, select it
4. A pop up window will ask you if you want to use the white balance from that image and you want to select OK.

5. When you are in your picture setting, you'll want to change the AWB (auto white balance)
6. Push the WB button on the right to go to custom white balance
7. And select it.

8. You know you have selected your custom white balance when you see that icon I circled in red above.
9. You can then return to your LCD screen live view or view finder to start shooting.

There is a little bit more steps involved with the T3i but it's not as complicated as it may seem and once you get the hang of it, you'll find it really easy. 

So there you have it...Simple and effective way of getting the right colors under any lighting you are in!

How many of you didn't know about this until now? If this is new to you, please try it and let me know how it changed your life...or your pictures, lol. I was saying to myself  "crap, all these good shots I could've gotten right with just manipulating my camera setting!"

Getting an expensive camera doesn't mean that all your pictures will come out perfect automatically. YOU, as the photographer, compose the image. The camera only does what you ask it to do.

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