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How to Control White Balance & Master Color

Learn how to control your white balance and master your color from professional photographer Luke Ballard in this Howcast video.


Your camera has a feature called automatic white balance. For the most part, it's pretty good, it can tell the difference between different sorts of light. What white balance is, is color determined in degrees Kelvin. The higher the white balance, the warmer the photograph. For example, this photograph here. The white balance was set for an outdoor or natural light, so what we ended up getting, was a very yellow image. Every now and then, you might have found a yellow image on your camera, and thought, "Hey, it didn't look that yellow." Or, conversely, you might have found a blue image. A blue image happens when we're outside, using an indoor white balance setting.

On your camera, your white balance settings are generally automatic white balance: sunny, shady, cloudy, uh, tungsten or incandescent, depending on your type of camera, and fluorescent lighting as well. You can also customize your white balance, either from an [inaudible 00:56], or from changing the degrees Kelvin. But let's keep it simple. If your photo is yellow, you need to move it to an indoor white balance, like tungsten, incandescent, or fluorescent lighting.

If your photo is extremely blue, you need to move it to an outdoor white balance, like, for example, sunny, shady, or cloudy. This photo indoors with an outdoor white balance, needs to change to an indoor white balance setting, so let's move it over to the tungsten setting on the camera, and we see that the color changes dramatically. Changing our white balance just a little bit can completely alter the feel of a photograph, and get the color correct.

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