Now that you’ve mastered composition in your shots, it’s time to dive into another photography technique that is essential to professional-looking photos – white balance! For those of you who participated in last year’s 365 Project, you remember when we talked about how to set a custom white balance. If you are new this year, feel free to read this article for a little refresher because this week we are going to take this technique a step further.

Why is setting the right white balance so important?

Manipulating Color with White Balance

Week 24: June 8-14

Manipulating Color with White Balance

There are few different types of light – day light, fluorescent, tungsten, and flash just to name a few – and they all have their own color temperature. The color temperature will vary depending on the time of day and current weather conditions. Typically, when I am shooting outdoors, I set my white balance to cloudy. When I find myself indoors, I match it to the type of lighting, normally fluorescent. You may not be able to notice the changes in color temperature with your eye, but your camera is very sensitive and picks up on it.

Manipulating Color with White Balance

When shooting with a flash or under tungsten lighting {common light bulbs}, your photos will have an orange hue to them. When you set your white balance to tungsten, your camera adds some blues to your photo to help even out the orange.  The opposite is true for when you shoot under fluorescent lighting. Your camera will add some orange to balance out the blue tones.

Manipulating Color with White Balance 3

Once you start using correct white balances, you will notice a change in your photos. Aside from sharpness, I always strive for correct color balance. But there are some times when you can go ahead and break these rules! Although you may have a technically correct white balance, it may not be aesthetically correct.

Colors can create emotion in your photos. Just think of some common sayings like “feeling blue” and “tickled pink”. We associate colors with our emotions. One of your goals in photography is to not only show emotion in your photos but also make your view feel the emotions.

Manipulating Color with White Balance

When you use the “wrong” white balance, you can change the entire feel of your photo. Maybe you have a nice, warm image that you took outside using a cloudy white balance but the photo has a definite moodiness to it. By switching over to tungsten white balance, you can change the whole look of the photo and convey that mood to your viewer.

Your challenge this week is to play around with the color of your images by trying out different white balances. Make sure you share your photos on Facebook!


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