When you’re first starting out in photography the terms “White Balance” and “Color Temperature” can see alien and intimidating. Luckily we have 6 tips for you that explain exactly what they are and how you can use them to improve your photography.
6 Tips To Understanding White Balance and Color Temperature
WB & Color Temp Tip 1: Color Temperature is the color of the light source
Color Temperature is simply the color of the light source, and it is measured in Kelvin. In most cameras you are able to adjust Color Temperature manually in Kelvin, and in this handy diagram we give you the approximate Kelvin you want to use when dealing with these different light sources.
WB & Color Temp Tip 2: Different Types of lights may give off different tints
Color Temperature deals with oranges and blues, but your light source may also exude different tints of color such as green or magenta. So when you’re shooting you may have to either change your camera’s setting to compensate, or if you’re shooting in RAW you can correct the tint in your photo editor.
WB & Color Temp Tip 3: Set your camera’s White Balance
When you set your camera’s White Balance you can choose one of the pre-sets (Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, etc…), or if you’re using a more advanced camera you can dial in your White Balance manually using Color Temperature. You can also choose AWB, or Auto White Balance. In AWB the camera will choose a White Balance setting for you. It’s worth noting that AWB works great outdoors, but not so well indoors.
WB & Color Temp Tip 4: Use Live View to dial in your White Balance
If you’re using a DSLR then using Live View to dial in your White Balance is great because you can see the adjustments in real time. If you’re using a Mirrorless Camera or a camera with an Electronic Viewfinder then you can do this in the viewfinder. By using Live View you’re able to set your White Balance accurately without having to do the “shoot and check” method.
WB & Color Temp Tip 5: Shoot in RAW for more latitude when adjusting Color Temperature and Tint during post-production
When you shoot in RAW your images will retain the most color information, giving you more flexibility when you want to adjust Color Temperature and Tint later. In the video above you can see how I adjusted the Color Temperature to color correct this image.
WB & Color Temp Tip 6: Calibrate your display or monitor
When coloring your images or videos you need to make sure your display is properly calibrated, otherwise you’re going to deliver a product with less than accurate colors. At SLRLounge we use both the i1 Display Pro and the Spyder Elite 4, both are fantastic at keeping our monitors color accurate.