This week’s question: What white balance setting do you typically set your camera to? Do you use a custom setting and if so what tool do you use to set it?
About a year ago I was asking another photographer this same question. Her skin tones always seemed to be so spot on without any color casts. I knew there had to be a secret and I figured it had to do with white balance. It was then that I was introduced to Kelvin. Kelvin quickly became my new best friend. He made my editing faster, my workflow more streamlined, he truly made my life easier.
Now before my hubby starts to worry that this Kelvin is going to sweep me off of my feet and ride into the sunset on his white horse with me, let me explain exactly who, err–I mean what, kelvin is. Kelvin is a way to measure the temperature of color which is used to set a custom white balance. Here is the super scientific method of explaining it. But basically sunlight is typically (although we know that there are so many external factors that can affect this) 5600K. I usually start around there and adjust based on that starting point. I know of a lot of photographers that use a grey card to get their white balance correct and the only reason I don’t is because I just have never taken the time to get one and try it out. I found that using the kelvin measurement of temperature works really well for the images I like to produce, so don’t fix something if it isn’t broken, right? Also, since I shoot everything in RAW, I am able to tweak my white balance a touch if it’s not spot on to my liking.
Here is a before and after example of an image I took at last week’s senior session. I had my white balance temperature set at 5900K and really liked the way it looked straight out of the camera so all I had to do was pull it up in photoshop and do my normal editing for the image. Fast, simple, and just my style. No guessing and keeping my fingers crossed that auto white balance would get it right. I was able to get it right in camera, which makes every photographers job so much easier.