What is white balance in the photo?

Modern cameras spoiled people with their automatic modes and many other options, which is why we all have forgotten about such basic settings, such as the white balance.

The fact is that the white balance is an important part of the photo as a whole. If you are a novice photographer, then the study of such azes as the color temperature and shades is crucial. And today we will tell about them.

What is white balance?

White balance is directly related to the effect of color temperature and shade in the photo. Various light sources provide different color temperatures - ranging from orange to blue.

The light also has its own shade (ranging from green to purple). Changing white balance settings helps customize all these colors and achieve a more natural effect.

In essence, this color correction, as a result of which objects that human eye sees like white, will be shown by white on the photograph.

Why does the camera can't independently configure the white balance?

When a person sees a certain object, the eyes and brain work together to automatically adjust the colors. It is so white color and becomes white (sorry for the pun).

No matter where you are on the street on a sunny day or indoors with incandescent lamps - all the colors will look natural as soon as the eyes are accustomed to the environment (which does not take much time).

Yes, our eyes are quite well distinguished by white with different light sources, but digital cameras in this regard are difficult.

Modern cameras are well coped with the definition of white balance in automatic mode (AWB), but from time to time and they can be mistaken. In addition, the photo is creativity, so sometimes you want to disconnect the white balance to create a specific effect.

Color Temperature

The color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). Understanding how it works, goes far beyond our article, but we will try to explain briefly and clearly. Celvins are based on color radiated by the "black body" when exposed to a specific temperature. The high color temperature in Kelvin makes the colors more blue, and low - more orange.

There are special white balance parameters that help determine the correct levels of Kelvin, which should be used in various conditions:

  • 1000-2000 K - Candles
  • 2500-3500 K - Incandescent lamps
  • 3000-4000 K - Sunrise and sunset (Pure Sky)
  • 4000-5000 k - Fluorescent lamps
  • 5000-5500 K - Flash
  • 5000-6500 K - daylight at clean heaven (sun in zenith)
  • 6500-8000 K - moderate cloudiness
  • 9000-10000 K - shadow or severe clouds


Tint is what should be considered when shooting in artificial and unusual lighting (for example, sunsets, dawn and other natural phenomena).

The light may have a shade, because as we have already mentioned above, is in the range from green to violet. That is why you can add more than any color to the photo to correct its unnatural look.

White balance setting: Built-in mode - Postprocessing

We believe that from the chamber It is important to squeeze the maximum, so the device should install the automatic balance of white and, if necessary, make adjustments during the subsequent image processing on the computer (i.e. editing). However, everything comes down to personal preferences. But the fact is a fact - with modern technologies you no longer need to carefully monitor the white balance.

For editing It is worth using filming in format RAW, since it has its advantages and allows you to set the white balance after the snapshot was taken. In addition, RAW files will allow you to set white balance based on a wider range of colors.

Modern cameras coped quite well with the white balance settings, so most photographers trust them. You can easily set the automatic mode and correct images in post-processing in the event that the camera still makes an error.

The RAW image file allows you to control the color temperature without loss of quality. You can't tell you about the JPEG format file, in which the white balance is already installed. When trying to change the flower temperature of this image, it loses quality.

If you need to shoot only in JPEG format, it is necessary to immediately use the temperature parameters listed above to get the desired result.

Also, you should not forget about the PRE mode (preset). This parameter measures the color temperature and the shade by measuring the color on the white balance card. To use the mode, you need to make a test photo in the desired conditions. The disadvantage of this method is that you will have to perform this process every time when the lighting conditions change.

White balance setting on camera

This process is simple enough, but the settings menu on each camera is different So we cannot provide step-by-step guide. In any case, the installation of white balance will not be difficult. Finding the appropriate option, you will probably see many parameters to be selected depending on the lighting conditions.

Most often in the chambers there is an option with a selection of Kelvin temperature manually, as well as the preset mode (Pre). Some cameras are at all equipped with physical buttons to control the white balance.

White balance setting with postprocessing

programs and applications for photo editing also have different The parameter menu, but the process itself should be similar.

Locate the "White Balance" or "Color" section in the selected program (for example, Lightroom). There you will see a list or drop-down menu with all color temperature parameters.

In addition, there should be able to manually change the color temperature and tint, as well as parameters such as brightness, saturation and much more.

White Balance Tool is one of the most convenient options. Select a parameter and then white or neutral (gray) image color. Software reads the selected color and brings it to the perfect level.


Photography is an art and a way of creative expression, which is why We cannot call you strictly follow all the rules.

Just above, we wrote that the correct white balance simulates natural colors, and this is the desired thing when studying basic concepts. However, there are cases when you can show a creative approach and abandon white.

A "colder" (bluer) color temperature makes the image look dark or surreal. Similarly, a more orange hue can give photos a warm, soothing effect.

Color theory is a whole science, and if you learn how to manipulate it, then you can take really cool photos. Here's an example of an image in which the author "played" with temperature and tint to achieve a special effect: