Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting Perfect White Balance

A lot of you may already know this, but it's something I don't do as much as I should.  I'm gonna try and do it more.  I think the reason I don't do it is because it takes a little more time to get the shot, plus I have that, "I can always fix it in Photoshop" mentality.  What "that" is is getting the right white balance.  (ADD moment: can one use "is" twice in a row in one sentence?)

It turns out that it's pretty easy.  A fellow photographer that I meant while taking pictures at the San Jose Mission in San Antonio a few months back showed my how he does it.  I wish I got his name, but I didn't.  Anyway, here's what you do (this is mainly for Nikons, but I bet Canons can do something similar if you check out your manual):

1. Make sure you have a gray card or a gray piece of material, something that you can take a picture of that's gray. Whatever it is, as long as it's gray, you're golden (bad pun intended). Currently I have a gray microfiber cloth that came with my Ray Ban sunglasses that works quite well.

2.  Set your white balance to "PRE" on your camera.  Hold the WB button down until "PRE" starts flashing.  When flashing, take a picture of your gray card or whatever you have that's gray.  Make sure it fills the frame.

3. If the camera gets a good shot of the card (it doesn't have to be in focus), the display will flash "Good".  If it flashes "no Gd", try step 2 again until you get a "good" result.

4. Change your WB setting to "d-0" and you should be good to go.  Now you have a perfect WB setting for the light you will be shooting!

Easy-perfect white balance! That's what I like! Something to remember though; anytime you want to measure a new WB setting using the steps outlined above, it will always save to d-0.  So any previous setting in d-0 will get overwritten.  If you want to save what's in d-0, in the WB menu, go to "Preset Manual" and press the right arrow.  Then, select a destination between d-1 and d-4, highlight "Copy d-0" and press "OK". Now to use the the WB that you saved, change the setting to d-1 or d-2, etc.. wherever you saved it.

Why I don't do this more is beyond me.  Well, maybe not.  Either I'm in too much of a hurry or I'm lazy.  I like to think it's the previous, but it's really probably the latter.

That should do it. Try it!  Take a picture with your camera set to "Auto" WB and then take a picture using this trick.  It really made a difference for me. If you do, would you mind letting me know if it helped you?

Hope this helps and thanks for visiting!

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