White Balance

Originally posted on Adorama’s IGTV channel April 24, 2019
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Can you give me a better understanding of white balance? I’d like to know when to change it, what to change it to, and how to use custom white balance. Thank you.

Gary S.

Hi David, my question is about using ColorChecker cards or gray cards in conjunction with Auto White Balance. I like to get a reference shot with either a ColorChecker or gray card and then use that reference shot in post production to quickly correct the white balance on a group of images in batch processing mode. I have always used a set white balance in camera (usually I just use manual setting of 5200) so that all of the images in the group can be “off” or “incorrect” by the same amount and in the same way. That way, they can then all be corrected using the single reference shot. I have seen many photographers, including I think you in one of your Two-Minute Tip videos, taking a reference shot but then leaving the camera in Auto White Balance mode. My question is how does this work if the camera, since it is in an auto mode, uses a SLIGHTLY (or maybe not so slightly) different white balance for some of the images in the group. How can all of the images in the group then by corrected using the single reference shot if some of them are “off” or “incorrect” in different ways from the others in the group or even the reference shot? I have never been able to understand using reference shots with Auto White Balance because of this. I absolutely, positively trust your opinion on something like this and perhaps the answer is that in practical, real world use this rarely (if ever) becomes an actual problem. If so, I can live with that. (And maybe even use Auto White Balance for a change- I never do.) In any event, thanks for sharing so much on your videos!

Tim W

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