What is white balance in camera?

Red, Green, and Blue are the 3 primary colors that form the white light. They are mixed in various proportions – depending upon the color temperature of the light. If the color temperature is high – the light is bluish. If it’s low – the light is reddish.


Definition of White Balance
The white balance is used to remove the unnecessary color casts so as to make the image look more natural. Hence, it  is set according to the color temperature of the light sources.
Working with White Balance
In most of the cases,  a white balance is used to avoid the casts. While some photographers choose to use  the “wrong white balance” to produce very creative pictures. You can also create very warm pictures if you use the “shade mode” in the daytime. The opposite (cold) is valid if one is using “tungsten mode”. While DSLR has special mods for all the different types of lights – it’s not really necessary that you must use flash white balance when you use the Speedlight or strobe. Most of the modern digital cameras will calculate ambient light and provide you with a decent result on an “Auto White Balance Mode”, specifically when two or more color temperatures from the different light sources are mixed in the one set. In such cases “Auto white balance” is good to use, or neutralize particular light sources with color filters or gels. There is also the more professional way to set up the white balance by using neutral white, it called “Custom White Balance”. Most of the DSLRs will have instructions on how to set up the “Custom White Balance” for your particular camera.
What is white balance in camera?
While shooting on film was required to adjust light sources with filters and gels. However, when we are shooting with the digital camera, it’s easier as you can use the Auto White Balance (AWB). Also, if you photograph using RAW or DNG format, you may adjust your white balance later while processing the images. However, some of the details may be lost if the transformation is too dramatic. So it is always recommended to use the correct white balance during the shooting. To adjust the white balance in RAW pictures, the photographers use “Gray cards“. They are put within the set later as they help in picking the neutral gray during postprocessing.


P. S White balance in food photography is usually aiming the daylight color temperature (except for some special occasions like candle light dinner or so). That’s why many food photographers say that natural light makes food look tastier.

What is color temperature in photography?

The color temperature one of the most important things in photography. I would say it also part of photography multiplication table, something all photographers know and use all the time.

Definition of the color temperature
Well, technically speaking color temperature is one of the many characteristics of the visible light. Each light source has it own color temperature.  Take a look at this table:
Temperature Source
1,700 K Match flame, low-pressure sodium lamps (LPS/SOX)
1,850 K Candle flame, sunset/sunrise
2,700–3,300 K Incandescent lamps
3,000 K Soft (or Warm) White compact fluorescent lamps
3,200 K Studio lamps, photofloods, etc.
3,350 K Studio “CP” light
4,100–4,150 K Moonlight
5,000 K Horizon daylight
5,000 K Tubular fluorescent lamps orcool white/daylight compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)
5,500–6,000 K Vertical daylight, electronic flash
6,200 K Xenon short-arc lamp
6,500 K Daylight, overcast
6,500–10,500 K LCD or CRT screen
15,000–27,000 K Clear blue poleward sky

The color temperature measured in Kelvin (K). As it visible from the current table the light temperature varies from reddish to bluish tints. Natural daylight is usually between 5500 to 6000 K but in the “magic hours” it became as warm as 2000K as well. Light below 5000 K (1,700 – 5000K) considered as warm colors and the light above  daylight (5000-27000K) referred to cool colors.

Color temperature and White Balance

In photography, the color temperature is always used along with term “white balance”. To create correct white balance photographer need to understand with what color temperature he deal with and adjust camera settings accordingly.

Find more about White Balance Here