Don’t forget about the white balance setting on your camera because intentionally losing our white balance can be a good thing.
About White Balance
White balance is set on our cameras.
And we can either set it on automatic or pick a specific white balance setting.
However, most of us leave our white balance setting on automatic; but, contrary to the usual, experimenting with picking a specific white balance setting can open up a whole new element of composition that utilizes color in our work.
In other words, losing our white balance can be a good thing.
What The Setting Does
If we leave the white balance setting on automatic, the camera will do its best to pick a white balance setting to match the color of the transmitting light source that is illuminating whatever we photograph.
And when the white balance setting matched the color of the transmitting light source white appears as white in our photograph.
Furthermore, when white appears as white in our picture, we can consider our photograph to be “color correct.”
But color correctness is overrated when it comes to creative expression and this is when losing our white balance is a good thing.
Why Losing Our White Balance Can Be a Good Thing
Unfortunately, if we’ve been using the white balance setting on our cameras in automatic mode, we’ve been missing out on the compositional possibilities of picking a specific white balance setting.
But, for better or worse, most people use the white balance settings on their camera to get color accuracy (white as we see it = white in our photograph).
And, If we’re using the auto white balance setting on our camera, our camera attempts to do this for us.
This isn’t a good thing because we’re allowing our camera to control an element of our composition.
And when we let our camera control composition we lose the opportunity to express our unique expression.
Basically, two things can happen with the white balance settings on our camera:
- The white balance setting on our camera is equal to the light source’s color temperature. I tend to call this a compatible white balance setting. (white as we see it = white in our photograph)
- The white balance setting on our camera is NOT equal to the light source’s color temperature. I tend to call this an incompatible white balance setting. (white as we see it does not = white in our photograph. We can begin to get predictable color shifts.) this is what I would consider to be losing our white balance.
Also, while scenario one is the most frequently used, understanding how to use scenario two can add additional depth to our compositions. And that’s a good thing.
How To Lose Our White Balance Effectively
Among other things, here’s how we can use scenario two:
- We can warm up skin tones
- Make the day seem like night
- Add a psychological element to our picture.
Whether we choose color correct or color shifts is an important consideration in our composition.
Because when we intentionally pick our white balance setting we get more involved in camera operation and composition.
So, we can choose color correctness or the intentional color shifts we get when losing our white balance.
The point is we get to choose. And it’s in that choice that we are in control of the outcome of our compositions.
And it’s that personal, human control that makes our pictures unique.
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