Sunday, April 13, 2008

Photo Tip for today

White balance is a way of telling the camera what color is white in the scene. Different lighting conditions play a big role in determining the colors in your images.

The color cast on things is different based on the type of lighting you are in. People normally don't notice the color cast because eyes distinguish colors and automatically adjusts. You set a white balance reading to tell the camera to ignore the color cast created by the lighting and to give the best representation of the actual colors as possible with the camera.

Most digital cameras have white balance presets built into them. They usually are auto, tungsten, fluorescent, daylight, flash, custom (your camera may have more or less, it depends on the manufacturer). Most people choose auto and leave it at that. Those presets are designed to counter act against the color cast given off by the lighting.

A custom white balance will give you the most accurate colors you can get.

To take a custom white balance you will need an 18% gray card, set the white balance to custom (or manual), aim the camera at the gray card, fill the frame with the card and press the shutter. That will set the camera's white balance for those lighting conditions. An 18 Percent Gray Card is a simple gray-coloured card which uniformly reflects 18% of the light which falls upon it. 18% is mid gray on "geometric" scale of black to white.

If you don't have a gray card, you CAN use a white shirt or piece of paper. It will be close The object you pick may not be neutral in color and cause a color cast of it's own. Think about all the different shades of white one finds at a paint store. The 18% gray is neutral and produces the best custom white balance.

Experiment with all the white balance settings on your camera outside on a sunny day. Then use them all under florescent lights.

1 comment:

Holly said...

so where do you find a 18% card? Photo shops? I am definately going to play around with this!