White balance is the color balance on a digital camera. You’ve arranged your products. They’re set against a rustic table and a pale, patterned backdrop. The accessories are just right, the label is perfectly aligned, and everything looks perfect. But when you take the picture, everything looks a bit purple. You try again in a different room, and everything is a bit yellowed. So you double-check the lighting. But everything looks colorful and your eyes can’t find any reason for the final product to have a color shift. What’s the problem?
The problem is your lighting. Even though everything is illuminated, the lights themselves are adding color to your scene. Incandescent light bulbs give off a slightly yellow light. Fluorescent lighting is a bit blue. Your eyes dismiss the slight color shift because your brain knows what the colors should really look like. But once you take a picture, that automatic readjustment is gone.
There are three ways to solve the problem:
- Switch to LEDs with a daylight level of warmth.
When you control the set, you can manually make the light cooperate with you. LEDs are becoming more customizable. Whether you equip your studio with programmable lights or you purchase daylight LEDs, you can get purer lighting. This will remove the color diffusion.
- Set your camera.
Digital and DSLR cameras automatically adjust their white balance settings, at least partially. Most models also allow you to input data about the lighting type, so the camera can better adjust to the lighting. They have settings like fluorescent, cloudy, and flash so the camera can prepare for the lighting conditions and correct the color disparity.
- Correct the image after the fact.
Photo editing software companies know that white balance is a common problem. That’s why many professional programs include a tool to correct the colors. But the tool isn’t a filter that you can implement with a click. It requires careful, precise work.
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