White balance for good photographs

Today’s tip is a very quick and easy tip to help cut down your post production time. I know many photographers who don’t have the time to stop what they are doing during a shoot and get a custom white balance so will shoot everything in auto white balance. While the technology in cameras has really improved over the years and shooting on auto white balance can give you a decent image, its not always going to be accurate and the worst problem is that it won’t be consistent. Say for example you are shooting on auto white balance and take a series of images all within a few seconds of each other but slightly move your camera angle for each shot. As each shot is taken your camera is reading the scene and making a decision on what the correct white balance should be. So if each image is just slightly different the color balance will be off between each shot. When going through your post production to retouch all of your images this can be a lot of additional time to take into account each shot is just a little bit different. From one moment to the next you might have a little more yellow, or a little more cyan and it can be a pain to try and get everything to match up.

One great habit to get into is to always set the white balance on your camera to one of the preset settings. Even if you are totally wrong on the setting it still will save you time in the post production. What I mean by this is that if you are shooting in the full sun you obviously want to set the white balance to sun. But even if you forget and were coming from an indoor location where your white balance was set to Tungsten that can be totally fine and still save you time. If this happens your images will all have a bluish tint to them but the good news is that they will all have a consistent bluish tint to them. So when you are processing the images you can select the first image and take out the blue and then apply that setting to the rest of the photos and viola, your done! As long as you don’t change the white balance during that series then you are fine, everything will be consistent.

Sometimes you just have to slow down for a second to think about what you are photographing and how your camera is setup. These few seconds of fine tuning the image when it is shot can save hours of time in photoshop or lightroom trying to make everything look perfect.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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