If you ever have taken a photo inside with fluorescent lights as your main source of lighting, you may notice a slight “bluish” look to your photos.
Why did this happen? All light sources have different colour tones based on a temperature reading scale ranging from red (warm) to blue (cold) known as Kelvin (K).
Your choice of lighting will impact the overall look of your image and the actual colours shown in your photo. A photo mainly lit with a candle will give off a slightly deep orange colour tone. Likewise a photo mainly lit by fluorescent lights will give off a light bluish colour tone. Usually undetectable by the naked eye, we only really notice the difference when we look and compare photos side by side.
The term ‘White balance’ (WB) is the process of removing unnatural colour tones in photos. All FUJIFILM Digital cameras have ‘White Balance’ controls to help change or correct these colour tones.
Why would a photographer need to change the camera’s white balance setting? Depending on the subject and lighting source used, a photographer can adjust the camera’s white balance setting to properly show colours as the naked eye sees them or to change the “mood” of a particular photo.
So why experiment with white balance?
You may find that the Auto White Balance setting corrects colour tones when you don’t want it to. This can happen with sunsets or landscapes, where the colour of the light is an integral part of the picture. By using one of the preset settings, you can better control the colour tone of your photos based on the light source used. In addition to one of these “preset” settings, most FUJIFILM cameras offer the ability to pick a custom white balance setting also known as colour temperature (measured in Kelvin).
Here are some of the most commonly found and used white balance settings in Fujifilm cameras:
Auto – this is where the camera takes continuous readings of the light sources and makes adjustments automatically to the colour tone of the photo.
Daylight/Sunny/Fine – not all cameras have this setting because it sets things as fairly ‘normal’ white balance settings.
Tungsten/Incandescent– this mode is usually symbolized with a little bulb and is for shooting indoors when traditional incandescent lighting is used. It generally cools down the colors in photos.
Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little.
Colour Temperature – This option allows you to select the colour temperature using the measurement known as Kelvin, this gives you even more creative control. And without getting too technical here’s our handy hint: If your photos are coming out yellow/orange turn the temperature down (lower number value, for example 2500K) and if they are a bluish colour tone, turn the temperature up (higher number value, for example 8300K). You will soon pick up what lighting environments are around which value of Kelvin.
The other option you have is to shoot in RAW, select Auto White Balance and adjust later in post processing. This does give you more flexibility after the shoot but will add more time to your processing, plus a bit more technical know-how to get best results.
As you can see above the white balance chosen for a shot can make a huge difference to the feel of an image and in some cases what season the image was taken in.
We hope you have found this tutorial helpful and that it will get you out and about experimenting with white balance.
And as an added bonus, check out FujiGuy Billy as he shows you how to get your White Balance settings up and running in camera here.