Overriding your White Balance to Achieve a Desired Tone – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

I previously wrote about white balance and how setting your camera white balance control to the proper setting for the scenario you are shooting will give you more accurate colours.

But what if that is not what you want?

Overriding your white balance let’s you control how your camera records your images. To maintain the warm glow of a rising or setting sun, change your white balance from Auto White Balance (AWB) to daylight. To mimic the same warm glow in daylight, set your white balance control to shade.

Morning and late evening light are both warm coloured light. As the day progresses the light takes on a cooler, more blue, tone. Using AWB in the morning light will cancel the warmth and the nice light that you receive shooting in these conditions. Setting the white balance to daylight (a cooler white balance setting) will enable your camera to record the warm tones in your image without trying to compensate for the natural warmth of the light. Conversely, if you wish to record an image as being colder in tone (more blue) use a warmer white balance setting such as tungsten or incandescent light when shooting in sunlight.

If your camera has selectable white balance setting in degrees Kelvin, you will have even finer control by using this. A few colour temperature ranges to start with:
Morning Light 2000 – 3000 degrees Kelvin
Daylight 5800
Shade 7000 -8000

The colour tone of your image has a great effect on how the image is perceived by your viewer. Shooting at a cooler colour temperature than actual conditions will have the effect of warming your image while the reverse, shooting a warmer colour temperature than actual conditions will cool your image. Controlling your white balance to achieve the look you want is a simple but effective method in enhancing your photography.

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