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WildWalker
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03-09-08, 10:50 PM
#1

Custom White Balance

This months lesson will show us how to use custom white balance effectively.

What is 'White Balance'?

White Balance is essentially, an action performed by the camera, where the camera tries to remove the different colours produced by different lighting from the image - resulting in true whites and thus properly represented colours.

You've bound to have seen White Balance errors when you have taken a photo indoors... noticed it is a funny orange colour?

Different lighting has a different colour output (temperature). We won’t bore you with facts and figures, but let's consider the three main artificial light types and temperatures:

Tungsten (Light Bulbs) 2500-3000K (Kelvin)
Fluorescent Tubes (Strip Lights) 4000-5000K
Clear Sunny Day (No Clouds) 5000 – 6500K
(Other types could be Candle light, Electronic Flash etc.)

If you use Auto White Balance under Tungsten Bulbs, you will get a Blue tint to the image, if Fluorescent; you get a Green tint on your images. This is because the camera is setup to use normal temperature light (daylight).

By using Custom White Balance, we can tell the camera what to use as a reference, so that the resulting whites are the correct hue.

Most people either use a fixed white balance setting (sunny, indoors) or go for the AWB (Automatic White Balance) setting on the camera. However, the function we want to use is ‘Custom White Balance’

Ok Let's start

Start off by setting your White Balance to auto (If you don't know how to do this - get your cameras manual out).

Before we can set up the Custom White Balance, we need a Custom White Balance reference. This will be in the form of a picture you take in the room/area where you wish to photograph.

Perhaps for this lesson you can use your sitting room or lounge, and the ideal time is to do this in the evening with the lights on and curtains drawn (if it’s the middle of the day and you have plenty of sunlight you will not see the effect so well).

You need two photos.

As we are dealing with white balance, we need a photo of something white - so in the room you have chosen for this lesson, take a photo of something white (the ceiling is usually a good choice).

Here is a photo of the ceiling in my front room.


(My ceiling is meant to be white)

When you take your image, zoom in and just photograph a small area, do not include any light fittings or any particularly bright or dark areas. You only need an area of your ceiling the size of a sheet of A4 paper.

Now take a photo of your room like in the example below. Remember where you took the photo from as you will be taking another photo from the same position in a minute.


As you can see, it’s got quite an orange tint to it, and the white ceiling looks nowhere near white!

Now we have our reference image, and the first image of the front room, we need to set up our camera to use Custom White Balance and take another image of the front room.

On the Camera, navigate to your Custom White Balance options, if there are no on screen instructions on how to set Custom White Balance, have a quick look in your manual. On some cameras, such as Canon, the camera will use the last picture taken for the reference - on other cameras such as Nikon, it will take the next picture taken for the reference

Once you have set your ceiling image as the Custom White Balance reference you should now be in your cameras Custom White Balance mode. (i.e. so when you have finished photographing in this room make sure you set it back to Automatic White Balance, or whatever mode you prefer to shoot in).

Now you are ready to take your second shot!

Here's my new shot, followed by the original that I took earlier:


(Custom White Balance)


(Automatic White Balance )

It is fairly simple to see that the Custom White Balance image is a lot more natural in colour, and the ceiling is as white as it should be.

Your task:

Your task for this month is to use the above lesson to take a before and after shot as in the example above

Add your results to this thread

Good luck!
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Canon 5D Mk11
EF 85mm F1.2 L
EF 17-40 F4 L
EF 100-400 F4.5-F5.6 L
EF 50mm F1.8
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Canon EOS 30D
EF-S 18-55mm
EF 35-105mm
EF 70-300
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04-09-08, 02:24 AM
#2

3) Custom White Balance ....and Cheetah!

Re: Custom White Balance

Here's my effort for the Custom White Balance Lesson.

Before



After





Also, here's a few pictures of Cheetah taken with my new stored Custom White Balance setting for the lounge





Must say I am very glad about this lesson as I never knew setting a custom white balance was so easy peasy!
Kit 1
Nikon D300
Nikon 55-200mm VR
Kit 2
Nikon D40
Nikon 18-55mm
My Compact/P&S: Panasonic Lumix TZ7


     
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04-09-08, 02:56 AM
#3

Re: Custom White Balance

Thanks Alan! I really needed this lesson!!

Kit 1
Nikon D300
Nikon 55-200mm VR
Kit 2
Nikon D40
Nikon 18-55mm
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04-09-08, 07:02 AM
#4

Re: Custom White Balance

Me too, not sure I understand WB so I am going to make good use of this months lesson.
Kit 1
Pentax K7
Pentax 60-250mm
Sigma 105mm Macro
Pentax 12-24mm
Pentax 50mm 1.4
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04-09-08, 09:06 AM
#5

Re: Custom White Balance

Well just goes to show, have read my cameras instruction book and it does it a bit different to that explained here but the amazing thing is I have never noticed that page before, I though my camera would only control WB either on auto or on a pre set choice. Now I find it explains how to set the WB for the actual conditions if needed for each shot. Thanks, teach me to go looking another time, it is so easy the camera even tells you if it has the info or if you need to do it again. Talk about idiot proof well providing you are not such an idiot you don't read the instructions properly.

Think perhaps next months lesson should be on how to read the instruction book and to think I always laugh at my IH for not looking at instructions
Kit 1
Pentax K7
Pentax 60-250mm
Sigma 105mm Macro
Pentax 12-24mm
Pentax 50mm 1.4
Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma)
Kit 2
Pentax K20d
Lens as other body
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04-09-08, 10:02 AM
#6

Re: Custom White Balance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azz View Post
Must say I am very glad about this lesson as I never knew setting a custom white balance was so easy peasy!
Good innit

You got exactly the right results on your images, nice one.

Like the cat too, I would like a cat of my own, but I have banned all animals from the house since decorating (bah humbug)

The cats colours look nice and natural, so good job.

Alan.
Kit 1
Canon 5D Mk11
EF 85mm F1.2 L
EF 17-40 F4 L
EF 100-400 F4.5-F5.6 L
EF 50mm F1.8
Sigma F2.8 28-70mm
Kit 2
Canon EOS 30D
EF-S 18-55mm
EF 35-105mm
EF 70-300
Other Kit
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Azz's Avatar
Azz
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04-09-08, 02:03 PM
#7

Re: Custom White Balance

Lol Snapper... snap! That's exactly what I thought, I thought you could only select from the pre-set options, or auto.

This was something that actually really bugged me - should've known the camera manufacturers would have been on top of it tho! At least we are privy to it now thanks to this guide
Kit 1
Nikon D300
Nikon 55-200mm VR
Kit 2
Nikon D40
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Azz's Avatar
Azz
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04-09-08, 02:07 PM
#8

Re: Custom White Balance

Cheers Alan - I was actually trying to figure this out the other night, but (as I just mentioned in the lesson thread) I thought I could only manually select a white balance level or use one of the pre-set ones.

It's MUCH better this way!! Thanks

P.s I think that's a good idea about pets - Cheetah wrecks the sofas
Kit 1
Nikon D300
Nikon 55-200mm VR
Kit 2
Nikon D40
Nikon 18-55mm
My Compact/P&S: Panasonic Lumix TZ7


     
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04-09-08, 06:58 PM
#9

3) Custom White Balance

Re: Custom White Balance

Here's my go at custom white balance. Another setting I can tick off for knowing what it is/does.

Before


After
Kit 1
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EF 28-80mm 1:3.5-5.6
Canon EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM
Kit 2
Canon EOS 500N
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Azz's Avatar
Azz
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04-09-08, 07:08 PM
#10

Re: Custom White Balance

Great example Gina!

Isn't it funny how you, me and Alan have similarly coloured lounges
Kit 1
Nikon D300
Nikon 55-200mm VR
Kit 2
Nikon D40
Nikon 18-55mm
My Compact/P&S: Panasonic Lumix TZ7


     
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