Introduction of white balance

When we are talking about the most important feature settings of the camera, most of the photographers probably will mention aperture, shutter speed and ISO, but white balance matters too. That makes the color of the picture look realistic, which is very important when taking pictures in other light than sunlight.

Before we start talking about white balance, it has to be clear that light is not the same everywhere. Light from different sources have different colors. The sunlight is considered the normal light and other light need to be compared to that as a standard. That can be done with balance settings.

Basically white balance is the process of removing the unrealistic color cats. Practically that means color in the nature matches the color in picture. For example, white color remains clearly white in photography. That is possible because of the cameras ability to take into account the color temperature. With our eyes we can see very well is the color is completely white or it has some admixture of other colors, but most of the digital cameras cannot separate white color from others automatically. When taking picture in other light then the normal daylight picture can have some blue or orange color casts which is described as color temperature. The understanding of usage of white balance can make pictures more realistic.

So the usage of white balance depends on color temperature. This color temperature is measured in Kelvin which is amount of light. Each source of light has different color temperature. For example, day sunlight has different light temperature than sunlight at the evening when it sets. As it was mentioned before, day sunlight, which is considered the normal light, has around 5000 to 6000 Kelvin. Light from a normal light bulb has only around 3500 Kelvin, but light in the shadow has almost 9000 Kelvin. So in brighter light (less Kelvin) picture will look orange and in darker light (more Kelvin) picture will look bluish or greenish.

Most of the cameras settings offer to set the white balance by the type of light. There are such offers as candle light, tungsten bulb, fluorescent, flash, daylight, cloudy, shady etc. So all you need to do is set the appropriate type of light. Other cameras; however has only setting in Kelvin. That means brighter light needs less Kelvin and darker needs more. Remember that daylight is from 5000 to 6500 Kelvin and adjust white balance to that.

Things get more complicated when there is more than one light source. For example, if you are taking picture inside the room at the sunny day, when there is bulb on. Then the sunlight comes in from the windows and the light of bulb comes from the ceiling. Then you need to choose the appropriate white balance settings depending on the angle from which you take the picture and also the main source of light. The task also might be complicate by the variable weather or other factors of the light.

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