I Found Custom White Balance (… and since then my life hasn’t been the same)

Can you see any difference between…

… these two pictures?

You surely can.

The first one is cursed with some unsightly orange cast.

And let me tell you that I was struggling with that unwanted cast for quite some time.

Until one day – one lovely, sunny day – I stumbled upon an article on white balance.

And that changed my life.

Literally.

The orange cast is caused by tungsten (or bulb) light when you take pictures under… well… bulb light.

Our eyes get used to that light and see the colors the way they really are but cameras don’t.

Actually, they don’t unless you tell them to.

Which means … there IS a way how to free yourself from these orange chains.

If you really, really wish for the colors on your pictures to be more true to life, please, go into your camera settings and search for the white balance settings.

The point-and-shoot camera users can find wonderful settings not only for the tungsten (bulb or indoor) lighting but also for outdoors, cloudy, sunny, shade and other lighting conditions.

Those using DSLR cameras can find the exactly same settings in their menus.

And on top of that – there is something called CUSTOM WHITE BALANCE.

I find that setting absolutely gorgeous, amazing, awesome and great and… let me stop myself right here.

And it’s so easy to use.

Basically, what you do is that you take a picture of a white object (for example a sheet of paper, a coffee filter, a white food container lid) under the exact lighting conditions you plan to take the other pictures.

Then you go into the menu of your camera and do all the required steps to save this picture the way it should be saved (please, please – check your camera manual for the specifics because cameras vary from model to model; just be looking for the CUSTOM WHITE BALANCE).

By taking the picture of a white object you are telling your camera – “Hey,
camera, this is white, all right? Not orange, not yellow, not anything else. I’m grateful you remember that.”


… So now you have told your camera what white looks like where you are shooting.

And from now on you’ll be nothing else but happy.

11 Responses to I Found Custom White Balance (… and since then my life hasn’t been the same)

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Natalie says:

    Perfect! Never knew it existed, and have been fussing with my photos in Lightroom. One less fuss to worry about now! Thank you x 1000!!!

  3. 3
    kjanzen says:

    I have JUST discovered custom white balance this week myself, and life will never be the same. Great post!

  4. 4
    ingrid says:

    I’m still working on trying to figure this one out. I have a white balance menu, Petra and I can tell it what light I’m shooting under. Is this what you mean? Or do I still need to take a photo of the white paper under the auto white balance setting? I know, I’m a dum-dum but I appreciate all your help.
    ~ingrid

    • 4.1
      zoomyummy says:

      Hi Ingrid! Yes, you are saying it correctly. You basically tell your camera what light you are shooting under. Most often cameras offer these options: 1. Auto 2. Shade/Inside/Outside… 3. Custom.

      1. Auto – if you set this one, your camera does the white balance for you and you don’t have to care about colors at all;
      2. Shade/Inside/Outside… – you tell your camera more specific light conditions so that it works more precisely than the ‘Auto’ setting;
      3. Custom – this one is the most precise setting of all; the one that this article was about – with showing your camera the white paper and so on…

      I hope this helped.

      If you have more questions, just ask – I’ll be glad to help.

      Petra

  5. 5
    Sukaina says:

    Hi Petra….your site is gorgeous and your photography tips amazing. i just tried to set the custom white balance on my canon 550d. the only trouble is if i try to take a picture of a white paper, it wont let me focus and take a pic as there is nothing to focus on a white paper! how do i get around this?

    also, how do u take food photos at night? do you use an external flash or external lights? i would really appreciate some advice as my night photos are rubbish!

    • 5.1
      ZoomYummy says:

      Hi Sukaina! Thanks for visiting zoomyummy! Yes, I understand what you mean by not being able to focus. What I usually do is make a little mark on the paper (with a pen) or focus on a little darker spot or some irregularity on the paper. That usually works.

      By now, I haven’t really taken any food photos at night, though I’d so love to. Night is the time when I come alive. Despite that, I am currently planning on finding and buying a set of lights. When I find the right thing I’ll definitely write about it! But as far as I know these lights might work very fine.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Petra

  6. 6
    Byrne says:

    thank you thank you thank you so much for all of your amazing tutorials! they are a huge help.

  7. 7
    Gypsy Gina says:

    Are you implying this for indoors only?

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