Saturday, 14 June 2014

How To Improve Photos: White Balancing

When you start trying to figure out your camera - all the settings can be a little daunting, and you're probably like me when I first got my hands on a camera - worried about messing something in the settings up and not being able to get it back! Another topic that I see come up time and time again, especially during the Blogger chats on Sunday and Wednesday's is how to improve your photos for your blog. I see a lot of bloggers say that they wished they had a better camera or had a big DSLR camera so they can have better photos. In response, I always say one thing - it's not the camera, it's the lighting that can make or break a photo. I've said time and time before my iPhone and £40 point and shoot camera work just as well as my big DSLR camera and my bridge camera (a camera that is between a point and shoot and a DLSR).

Improving Photos White Balance

As I've said before, I studied photography at College and University, so I have picked up some rather handy tips a long the way. One of those tips that I couldn't live without is White Balancing. This simple little trick can improve your photos 100%. Ever had to struggle with lighting to take photos? Is it too cloudy out or are you having to take photos indoors so you have tints on your image? In dull lighting you can get a blue tint on your image, or if you are using an artifical light/indoor light you can get an orange tint on your image. Yes, you can solve this in photoshop - but then you run the risk of altering the swatch of make-up you took ages perfecting. However, White Balancing will solve this problem for you - it will remove the tints and give you a clear, true to life image.



Most camera's have a variety of white balance settings already set up for you, which you can use until you get confident using the white balance and setting it up yourself. Each of those settings will have a different outcome - and some get rid of the tints for you, but don't worry - each have a symbol to tell you which lighting the scenes are best suited for, and i'll run through them now.

Each of these photos was taken on a window ledge in natural lighting, I will attach the symbols to the images and these are the symbols that will appear on your settings menu on your camera, i'll then explain which each setting is for.

Improving Photos White Balance


I think each symbol is pretty self explanatory, but here is a handy guide to help you understand them. Remember, these are the preset settings already built in to your camera, so if you click one and don't like the outcome - don't panic! Just go back into White Balance settings and go to AWB, it will take you back to how you had it.

Improving Photos White Balance

The tones each settings adds to the image will counteract act tones already existing - for example, on days when it is cloudy and cold outside - think of winter months - when you don't get that lovely Summer sunshine to brighten up your photos, you will probably find that the images have a cool or blue tone to them, so this settings combats that by adding warm tones to equalize the image and erasing the blue tone and making the image appear like you took it in lovely daylight, without altering the outcome of the swatch, meaning it is still true to life. 

Now, when you get used to these settings and start to feel more comfortable with them, you can start playing around and set your own. Most cameras come with 1 and 2 - these are two white balances that you can set yourself. With my camera at the minute I have set up two custom white balance settings - White Balance 1 is set to outdoor and White Balance 2 is set to the artificial light of my bedroom. These custom settings will not change, unless you want them too by setting them up again. Again, if you play with the custom settings and you end up with something that doesn't work for you, just go back to AWB - it will do everything automatically for you.
 Improving Photos White Balance

Setting up your custom white balance is very easy, just go to SET which is usually under 1 and 2, which are the custom settings and where they are saved. This will take you to another screen, this usually says WHITE SET at the top and has a square in the middle. Most of the image is blurred out, expect what's in the square. This is the square that you will use to set your white balance up. Hold up a piece of white paper, or lay a piece of white paper where you are going to be taking the photo, make sure nothing else but white paper is in that square otherwise it can throw the camera off and make it either too bright or too dark. Once you have the white paper in the square, press okay. 

The camera will then add whatever cool or warm tones needed to equalize the image and result in the picture looking like it was taken in pure daylight. A godsend when we are battling the the cold winter nights with lack of lighting!

Improving Photos White Balance

Here is what happened when I used custom white balances with the different tones. 

Improving Photos White Balance

This image above was taken on a window ledge in the late afternoon when the weather was cloudy and threatening to rain - you can see the lack of sunlight and dullness from the clouds has given the image a blue tone to it. To counteract this, I set my own white balance by using the white paper background I was using to make sure the camera equalized the image to combat the lighting in that area. If I set the white balance in a different part of my house and then went to take the image, the tone would be wrong as it would be set to the lighting in that part of my house. You can see by setting my own white balance, the camera has added warm tones and cancelled out the blue tones the image previously had, giving a true to life representation of the colours and brightening the image. In the image previously, the blue tone had made the lipstick look like it had purple undertones to the lipstick. Whereas in you can see in the image where I have manually set the white balance, the lipstick is true to life and is a lovely bright red.

Improving Photos White Balance

This is where using the white balance feature really helps. In the image above, I took the image under a desk lamp with no natural lighting. You can see the warmness from the lamp has given the image an orange tone to it. This makes the lipstick looks like it's a dark coral or a orange toned red. However, using the white balance, I set the balance whilst the paper was under the lamp to make sure it corrected the right lighting and added cool tones to counteract the warm ones given by the artificial lighting. You can see that even though I never moved the lipstick, and it is still under the same artificial lamp with no natural lighting - it looks a lot better and like it is in natural lighting, and the bullet of the lipstick no longer looks orange toned and looks a lot more true to life. This is definitely a plus when struggling with lighting with short days and working late! 

Remember - just go back to AWB in the preset settings to go back to how it was if you don't like custom settings. It's not as scary as it looks though, promise!

Why not combine it with my other photography tips where I talk about cameras and fool proof way on how to get a seamless white background, with plenty of natural light that will cost you nothing! 

Don't forget to let me know how you got on! And if you have any tips, leave them in the comments. (:










15 comments:

  1. This was such a helpful post, I haven't got a big girls camera yet but I'm saving up so when I eventually do, I'm going to come back to this for help! Thanks!


    xxx | daisydaisyxxo

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    Replies
    1. You don't have to have a big camera to use White Balance! Most point and shoot cameras come with it now. x

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  2. This is so helpful, I'll definitely bookmark this post for when I get a better camera x

    daisy-drops

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! You don't need a fancy camera though - most cameras have this function! x

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  3. Such a great, much needed post! Thanks for doing this, and in such detail.

    Katie x
    katiesjabber.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it! x

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  4. Aww I'm loving the photography tips! :D

    Going to try this out again in the future. ^_^

    http://theremightbecoffee.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is one of the most useful posts I have read in a while! I always get a horrible yellow tinge on photos in unnatural light. I'm so happy I know how to change that now! Thank you :) x

    Mapped Out | Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful! x

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  6. What a useful post!! Definitely bookmarking this!

    Nicola xx
    www.nicolabishopx.com

    ReplyDelete

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