How to Use your DSLR: White Balance


learn to use your camera

Welcome back to your Tampa Bay Maternity and Newborn Photographer– Ashley Yvonne Photography Series on How to Use your DSLR Camera Part IV: White Balance. Be sure to go back and look over Part III: RAW vs JPEG, if you missed it.

By now you’ve looked over your Camera’s Manual, tested out Raw vs Jpeg and gotten to know your camera’s settings. Another very important element of photography is White Balance. It’s a setting on your camera that adjusts for lighting so that your whites are white and your blacks are blacks. There isn’t necessarily a perfect setting because some people prefer their images a bit warmer or a bit cooler. Its really up to you, but this is a good basis to get started before you decide what you’d like your images temperature to be.

You probably have had your White Balance set on Auto. I suggest going back to your Camera’s Manual to locate your White Balance Settings. Most DSLR’s come with Settings such as : Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten/ Fluorescent, Custom and Kelvin.

Daylight is popular for use when you’re outside and its sunny.

Cloudy is great for when you’re outside and its overcast or very cloudy.

Tungsten/ Fluroescent is used when you’re inside under light bulbs.

shade on a sunny day

A perfect example of using Kelvin around 8000- Shady on a Sunny Day

Kelvin refers to the numbered temperature settings. To use this option, you will want to refer to the numbers along with the approximate times you’d use those numbers. The most popular option for Professional Photographers.

1500- Candle Light

3200- Sunrise/Sunset

3400- Tungsten/Fluroescent

5500- Natural Daylight

6000- Overcast or Cloudy

8000- Shade on a Sunny Day

12000- Blue Skies

Custom is another popular option for Photographers. Its used in conjunction with a grey card or Expo Disc. If you’d like to learn how to use a Grey Card, there are many tutorials on Youtube.

Pregnant couple images

Example of Kelvin around 3200 during early Sunset.

Achieving the correct White Balance is a skill that takes practice, especially when using Kelvin. Start with the settings that are a little more automated, then try to learn Kelvin. Just remember that if you set the white balance manually, make sure you test it with one or two photos before taking a bunch of photos. Light changes a lot during the day so you will need to constantly check your white balance.

Stay tuned for more from your leading Tampa Photographer. If there is something you’d like to learn, comment below!

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