Friday, November 5, 2010

Importance of White Balance | Virginia Beach Photographer

We all have that problem...or at least I'd like to think the rest of you are also juggling photo shoots, editing, marketing, sales, phone calls, and travel with LIFE! I am blessed with a wonderful husband who will be home for the next 3 years! (Hello shore tour!) And after two back to back deployments the last thing I want to do is busy myself with so much work that I can't enjoy creating those early memories for ourselves and OUR kids. I've come to find out that there is this "thing" called the "start-up suck". As in... suck you in to this computer abyss so life passes you by. Whether it's social media, editing, blogging, etc, I think a lot of photographers, me included get sucked into this vortex when trying to make it in this industry. So, one of my goals this past year has been to get it right in camera so I'm not spending hours and hours in front of the computer after a photo shoot. One tool that has helped me is the custom white balance. This is one of those things that once you start, you'll wonder why the heck you weren't doing it before. I use this handy tool called the ExpoDisc. Yes, it's expensive. You could go the old gray card route too or I'm sure there are other useful methods or tools out there that work just as well.

To set my custom white balance, I use my ExpoDisc as a filter to take a picture from where my subject is. This just involves me coming right beside them and taking a picture of something, anything with the ExpoDisc over the lens. A gray picture will come up on my LCD screen. Then I go to the menu on my camera. (I shoot with a Canon 50D). Under White balance, make sure Custom is selected. Then go to Custom WB and that gray picture I just took will come up and my camera will ask if I want to use it as my custom white balance setting. I hit yes, and voila! The whole process probably takes me about 20 seconds and I've saved myself the headache of color correction in Lightroom or Photoshop. If the lighting changes, I'll have to do a new white balance reading. I've found the custom white balance makes the biggest difference indoors where color casts are prominent. And there are times when I don't use the ExpoDisc, such as sunset when you want that golden sunset glow.

Here's an example for you to see what a lifesaver it has become for me! The picture on the left is what my camera originally gave me on Auto. I was taking some pictures of my beautiful niece in our hotel room and there was this lovely cast thrown on her to make you step back and say "Yuck!". The picture on the right is my results after I did a custom white balance reading. These were taken with natural window light. Nothing else changed and both images are straight out of the camera without any processing done to them except resizing. Her daddy is Guatemalan so she has this gorgeous creamy skin that wasn't being portrayed in the first picture. Did this help anyone? Or am I blogging to the internet abyss again? :)


  1. Thank you for the insight. I'm a beginner and really appreciate all the help I can get.
    Lynn Harper

  2. Thanks for the tip. I can't wait to try it. I bought myself a new 35mm 1.8 lens this week so i have lots of practice to do.