Custom White Balance

I know you are probably wondering what I am doing talking about White Balance. Well, even before I had a blog, I took pictures of my cookies and I want to encourage you to do the same. It is nice to have a visual record of the cookies you’ve made and to see how much you have improved. I love and hate looking at my first cookies. I love the cookies and the design. I hate the photo! It made my sorta cute cookies look dull and dark. You can see them here (now be nice lol). I didn’t know anything about my camera except turn it on, point, shoot and pray that one photo would come out ok. I have learned a lot since then and I thought I would share some tips with you. I am working hard everyday to learn all I can and I am even taking classes but, I am not an expert! I just want to improve everyday!

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comThis is information you should use every time you pick up your camera. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting photos of cookies or your cute little kids. If something is worth taking a picture of, then the picture should be worth having.

What is White Balance (WB)? Let me try to explain it very simply. Think of your camera lens as an eye. Your eye needs a brain to work. Your camera does not have a brain so you have to help it see things correctly.  Light is different depending on the time of day, if you are inside or out, or even the seasons can cast different colors. Your brain automatically tells your eyes to adjust to these different color temperatures. Your camera, on the other hand, depends on you to tell it because it doesn’t have a brain. Be your cameras brain!


White Balance thebearfootbaker.comI didn’t think I would ever change my WB but, now I change it often. Take this week for example, every time I tried to take cookie pictures it was cloudy and rainy. Every picture is gray and dull. I moved to my light box named Sunshine and the photos were ok but, I want natural light whenever possible.  Natural light is way better than light bulbs. Unfortunately, the weather is not working with me. I am not a quitter! I didn’t want pictures in a light box so, I “Customized” my WB and it really made a difference! I had to share the news with you!

So what do all of these little pictures in WB mean? Your camera is really smart even though it doesn’t have a brain. All of these little pictures will help you get the right light for a great shot. You just have to tell your camera what you want. Most of them are self explanatory but, here goes.

Custom White Balance:

Auto means the camera automatically picks the white balance for you.
Daylight is when you have direct sunlight.
Shade is for pictures in the shade.
Cloudy is for cloudy days and works in the shade.
Tungsten is a type of incandescent lighting using a bulb. (I use this setting when I take photos in my light box so my pictures don’t turn out yellow.)
White Florescent Light is good for inside so you don’t have yellow-ish or orange-ish photos.
Flash can produce hard shadows and high contrast so use it only when you have to.
Custom use this with the help of a White Balance Grey Card Set or a White Balance Lens Cap.

Lets talk about Custom WB.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comWhen I look at something white, this is what I see. I had to add a border so you wouldn’t think I was crazy!

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comI took 2 pictures of a white board in 2 different places in my kitchen. I used my white balance lens cap and this is what my camera saw. I saw white and my camera saw green and gray! WOW! I could not believe one turned out green! As you can imagine, your picture won’t be great with your camera thinking this is white! All your colors will be off.

So what can you do? I will show you. You can set the WB to “custom.” Be the brain for your camera and show it what true white is so the rest of your colors will be right. I have a Canon Rebel T3I and I love it. These are the directions for how I set my Custom White Balance but, you will have to refer to your owners manual to set yours. The point is, find out how! It does matter!

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comGo to the WB setting in your camera and select “Custom.”

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comNow, take a picture of your WB card or your WB lens cap. You will probably have to set your focus on Manual instead of Auto Focus.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comThen, go to Menu.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comUnder the second little camera picture at the top you will see a list something like this. You are looking for Custom White Balance. Select it.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comIt will tell you what image is Compatible. Select it.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comNow, select OK. You are now shooting pictures with a custom WB. Let me show you some example pictures I took today so you can see the difference for yourself.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comAll these pictures were taken with the same light at the same time of day. The only thing I changed was the WB. Now some of these aren’t bad. I like the Auto and the Shade but, look at the color in the Custom picture. Photography is art. Everyone will have their own favorite. I personally like the Custom picture because it has the best color.

White Balance

The first apple picture was taken with Custom White Balance. The second picture was taken with the white balance set to shade. I edited both picture in Photo Shop Elements 10. Like I said before, art is in the eye of the beholder but I like the first apple picture much better. The color appears more natural to me.

White Balance thebearfootbaker.comI don’t want to miss cute photos of my adorable little grandson Tripp because I don’t know the proper way to set my camera. The holidays are approaching fast so if you start playing with your WB now, you will be a pro by Christmas and won’t miss a single memory!

Happy Creating,