Saturday, March 1, 2008

Warm-up your photos with correct white balance

I find the 'auto-white-balance' (AWB) of the Canon X0D, XX0D series cameras to be on the 'cool' side. Images are simply 'cooler' than what was 'before my eyes' when I took the picture. This is easily remedied by setting white balance to match your shooting conditions.
  • If it's sunny out, set white balance to 'sunny'
  • If it's cloudy out, set white balance to 'cloudy'
  • If it's shady out, set white balance to 'shady'

It seems obvious, but most folks leave white balance set to 'auto white balance' (AWB).

If you want to 'warm-up' your images further, try the following:
  • If it's sunny, set white balance to 'cloudy.'
  • If it's cloudy, set white balance to 'shady.'
If you've been shootng outdoors using AWB, I think you'll be pleasantly pleased by this little tip.

If you shoot in RAW format, you can experiment with different white balance settings when you process the RAW file. You also have the ability to interactively adjust white balance based on color temperture -- this gives you even more fine-grain control over white balance.

I took the following photo (shot in RAW) and processed it using 3 different white balances (auto (AWB), cloudy and shady):

Auto White Balance (AWB) [the default] - too 'cool' for my taste.

'Cloudy' white balance - better

'Shady' white balance - Best

It's harder to see the difference in these small blog photos, but on my 24" panel in my office, the difference between AWB WB and Shady WB is very significant.

Correct white balance makes a big difference.

More info on this shot:
Camera: Canon 5D
Lens: Canon 400 f5.6
Shooting mode: Av (I wanted to use the widest possible aperture)
Aperture: F5.6 (to get a nice blurry background)
Shutter speed: 1/800
ISO: 1250 (fast enough ISO to get fast shutter speed. It was dusk)
Exposure Compensation (EC): +1/3 (to make the dark conditions look brighter)
Picture Style: Standard
White Balance: Shady
Event: 2006 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic (5 day stage race.)

1 comment:

CorbinPhoto said...

This info will really help me.