White balance is an often overlooked aspect of digital photography. In comparison to the constraints of film photography, digital photography allows you to set white balance to adjust automatically depending on the scene. However, an improper white balance can effectively ruin a photograph. Here are a couple of tips for getting an accurate white balance.
Use white balance presets. This is the quickest way to get a near-accurate white balance setting. Most hand-held cameras these days allow you to select a custom white balance preset depending on the scene. For example, you can select the Tungsten white balance setting to compensate for overly orange lighting situations. Or, select the Shade white balance setting for a scene with increased shading.
Create a custom white balance. For more advanced scenes, consider using your camera and a white piece of paper to get a custom white balance setting (if supported by your camera). First, begin by photographing a white sheet of paper. Then, in your camera settings, look for the menu item Custom White Balance. You can then set the recent image of your white piece of paper as the source of your custom white balance. Now go back to your white balance preset menu and select the Custom preset. Now your camera will apply the white balance from your paper to the photograph, resulting in a much more accurate white balance.
Shoot in RAW mode. Another simple, yet sometimes time-consuming method is to simply shoot photographs in RAW mode. This allows you to accurately adjust the white balance when the photos are on your computer. Combined with the tips above, you will have the most flexibility achieving a correct white balance.
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