What is a custom white balance? And who is Kelvin? In this short tutorial, I’ll try to explain.
All light is measured in a unit called a Kelvin. Sunlight is different from shade. Shade is different from overcast. Fluorescent, tungsten and flash all have their own measurements as well. Sometimes light temperatures are mixed, like when you are indoors near a big window with the sun shining through, but fluorescents are also lighting the room that has hideously been painted a nice traffic cone orange color. The temperature of an image dictates the color cast it will have. In the example below, I deliberately changed the temperature to 2,000 on the left (very cool) and 50,000 on the right (very warm). I did this in post processing. However, you can also do this in camera using one of two methods. You can either shoot a custom white balance using a grey card or you can manually adjust the Kelvin temperature.
For the record, I thought the image looked best at 5650.
(There is a whole separate argument about whether to use a grey card or white card to shoot a custom white balance. I am in the camp that you use a grey card. Personally, I use the white card to get a correct exposure. However, I assume that as long as the grey card is 18% grey, and the white card is 100% white, it doesn’t matter.)
I have journeyed to the post processing ideology that I like my images natural, pure and with clean edits. I don’t understand how an image that has been manipulated to a super warm temperature will be aesthetically pleasing to your eyes in 10 years. Remember people, parachute pants were once thought to be a good idea. Choose your custom white balance carefully!
Until next time, be positive, happy, and healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings worldwide. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide you the absolute best photography experience.
I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I enjoy watching my daughter play softball, hiking, cycling, reading, and listening to Elvis!
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