Photographic art & community shared thru photography.

A Good Example Of White Balance

Hi guys. All my fans know that I hate spending hours using photo editing applications (just for a few photographs). I often use at least 3 applications to create my desired result. If you’re just starting out in photography, don’t let that scare you. I just prefer more than one application, because some applications do certain things better than others; sometimes one application doesn’t have the feature I need, or the tool that I want to either correct, treat, or filter an image; or create that artistic look I desire. Having said this, to be honest, I was quite lazy with this particular photo. I had so many photos to sift through, I just didn’t want to do any major surgery on these photos. However, at the same time, I thought I would use this photo as a perfect opportunity to talk about “White Balance.” As I’ve mentioned before, my blog is NOT a technical blog, so if you want a more scientific explanation of white balance click here. In essence, the best and easiest way I know how to explain “White Balance,” or “Color Balance,”  is that your camera measures heat/temperature emanating from different light sources. The warmer the light source, the camera will interpret the light as anywhere from orange to deep bright red based on the Kelvin system. The cooler the light source the sensor will interpret the cool in various shades of blue. Sometimes other colors in between depending on what the readings are based on a scale. Keep in mind the type of light makes a huge difference, ie, candle, tungsten, florescent, reflected light, etc. Please visit the links I’ve provided if you want to know more in detail.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the celebrity’s name right now, but I think its Susan Surandon. I should point out that their are many ways to correct White Balance. I never use any of the built in presets in my camera because they are never accurate for me (in extreme lighting conditions). White Balance is probably the only thing on my camera I set to auto; I prefer to correct my White Balance on the computer (its one less thing to worry about when shooting). The first photograph of Susan is a unique one; I say this because the lights were not really that warm. Actually, I think it was more of the bad choice in paint. It wasn’t until I really delved into photography that I realized how important paint is when it comes to photographs. Someone may think that a paint color looks awesome; but it doesn’t always compliment a subject when photographing; not only that, what ever light source can amplify the paint color, and sometimes even reflect it. The first Photo I’ve posted of Susan I’ve made no White Balance Correction. As you can see, the choice of paint made not only Susan too warm, but the entire environment. In the second photo I’ve corrected the White Balance by decreasing it down about 1,400-2,000K  from its original white balance measurement. As you can now see, the “White” in the color is more balanced, the environment blends, and Susan’s skin looks more natural, and her dress is practically untouched. I’ve also touched it up by using some softening techniques. Keep in mind, White Balance sometimes requires a bit of patience. Too much cool, your subject will look blue and sickly; too much warmth, and your subject will look like they have a skin disease; or the environment will look like it’s from the planet mars. White Balance is very delicate, and care must be considered. Sometimes after using other processes, you may find that it is necessary to adjust the White Balance again as a finishing. Hope this helps.


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