White Balance

Hey, there, photographers, its me, Finnegan again! I'm not such a little guy any more and now that I've grown a bit in both body and knowledge of photography, I'm gonna tell you all about white balance. When you take a picture, the light source (whether its a bulb or the sun) has a big time effect on the colors of your photo. Just like when my beautiful coat is in the sun, or indoors, you can see different highlights in my fur. 

In photography, sunlight at noon is said to be neutral, where white looks white and not yellow. Warm light, like from inside your house, can make your photos look more yellow or orange. But, cool light, like on the cloudy days where I don't wanna go for a walk, makes an image look more blue.

Your eyes may not see this at the time (I know I can't, because I'm a little dog), because human brains are trained to adjust for different lighting, but a camera does. To keep photos looking neutral and white-balanced, you can use a what is called a white card, which isn't good for chewing despite its enticing, plasticky texture.  

A white card reflects consistently, no matter what the source of light. The card provides a reference for your camera if you want to set an in-camera custom white balance, or for photo software when you download and edit your pictures.

In the left of the above photos, you might notice next to my handsome snout, a white card from Xrite, which my Dad used in post-processing software to create the final lower image. You can also see in the split right image, how the left "before" half is cooler or more blue than the corrected right "after" side, which is warmer and shows a richer yellow on the knee patch, and brings out the handsome brown brindling of my fur.

Most of the time the "correct" white balance is a matter of choice for every photographer, and the desired style of the picture. So, now that you know all about it, go forth and make well-white-balanced photos! Even if you're not able to find a subject as stunning as me, Finnegan.


X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Link


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