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Tips & Tricks

How to Set White Balance and Control Color Temperature | Minute Photography

By Kezhia Rodriguez on April 24th 2017

White balance can be a tricky thing to deal with when you first get your camera. In 60 seconds we’re going to show you how you can easily change your white balance to get a color temperature that fits your vision.

We partnered up with CreativeLive to help you master photography with the most basic of gear from our Photography 101 Workshop! Only have a minute? Stay tuned for more from this series here!

When you set your white balance in-camera you are essentially telling the camera what you want it to consider a neutral color temperature, but how do you set a proper white balance without memorizing all the different color temperatures?

[REWIND: White Balance & Color Temperature ]

Tip #1: Enable Live View

By enabling live view you can visually judge if you need to raise or lower your camera’s white balance. This subtle change in your shooting style will provide accurate, real-time adjustments without having to do the “shoot and check” method – score!

[REWIND: Color Light for Corrective Color Balance ]

Tip #2: Preset Scene Values

Set your camera’s white balance by choosing one of the white balance modes (Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, etc.) and easily see how the color temperature changes the scene. Shifting between two areas? Try AWB (Auto White Balance) where the camera will choose a white balance setting for you. While this seems like a dream, it’s worth noting that AWB works great outdoors, but not so well indoors.

Tip #3: Set White Balance Manually

Want to have complete control over your vision? Dial your camera’s White Balance manually using the color temperature mode. Key ones we like to remember are 3200K for Tungsten and 5600K for Daylight – a simple trick to remembering this, the higher the number, the warmer your image will be. Make post-processing easier and pick a color temperature in-camera that fits your vision.

[REWIND: Creative White Balance ]

Bonus Tip: Use Gels

By understanding where your light source is coming from, you have the ability to add or change it altogether. Avoid mixed lighting over skin tones but try combining tungsten and daylight in the background as a hair light or ambiance.

Like in the photo above from Lighting 101, use a CTO Gel (color temperature orange) over your flash to completely change the overall tone in the image. When we pull our color temperature on our camera down and apply a CTO Gel to maintain correct skin tones, our background turns into a deep blue.

Tune into Photography 101 to learn more, master manual mode and create incredible images with the most basic of gear. Upgrade to SLR Premium to gain unlimited streaming to all of our workshops!

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Writer for SLR Lounge.

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