What is White Balance?
First things first, let’s define what white balance is. Put simply, white balance is the color temperature setting your camera uses to set the colors of your photo. In order to have accurate colors in your photo, you need to set the white balance according to the lighting situation you are in. If you don’t and keep the white balance on Auto, the camera will guess and your images may not come out with true coloring. This is completely independent of the exposure of your photos, therefore is not reliant on shutter speed, aperture, or ISO.
How to Set White Balance?
As mentioned above, you choose the white balance setting based on the lighting situation that you are in. Below is a chart that shows white balance settings to choose from. Your camera may not have exactly these settings but should be pretty similar (below are Canon white balance settings).
Examples of White Balance Effects
As you can see in the collage above, white balance can have a profound effect on your photos. These pictures were taken on a bright sunny day. The correct white balance to choose would be the daylight setting pictured in the center as those colors are the true colors seen with my eye. Now to show you how keeping your white balance on Auto can be misleading to the colors, I have enlarged the Auto and daylight photos below.
Auto White Balance Photo
Daylight White Balance Photo
It can be a little hard to see, but if you look closely, the colors in the Auto white balance photo are more saturated than in the Daylight white balance photo. The photos in the Daylight photo are more accurate to what your eye truly sees. This can make a big difference with indoor photos. Here are some short videos on how to set the white balance on both a Canon and Nikon DSLR camera.
How To Set White Balance on a Canon DSLR
How To Set White Balance on a Nikon DSLR
So now that you know how to set your white balance, I encourage you to do it every time you take your camera out. If you need help with how to use your camera here are some more articles to review:
And finally, if you need more in-depth help with your camera and really want to learn how to get off Auto Mode and into Manual mode I have created a beginner photography course just for you. The course includes 2 hours of video instruction, broken into easily digestible modules. There are also quite a few free cheat sheets included with the course. Check it out here: