Control White Balance for True-to-Life Colors

by Natalie McConnell

Wherever you are, whether the light is bright and sunny, the pale glow of sunrise, or the dimness of a cloudy day, your eyes adjust to the lighting around you. Unfortunately, your camera isn't always able to do that - at least, not without help. When a camera reads the lighting wrong, the colors in your photo can appear too warm or too cool. To get the most true-to-life colors in your photos, you can manually control the white balance on your photos, or, in otherwords, you can tell your camera what type of light you are in and that it needs to adjust accordingly.

In your program mode, select the white balance icon (usually shown as a "sun") and choose one of the preset options. The most common presets are listed below and will help you achieve true-to-life photos, no matter what the lighting is.

  • Tungsten - Use when in a home or building using standard light bulbs to prevent yellowing in photos.
  • Fluorescent - This setting will help in commercial buildings (such as a hospital or office) that use fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Sunny - While most cameras will register direct sunlight, you can choose this preset to be on the safe side.
  • Cloudy - Choose this preset to get "sunshine" on a cloudy day.
  • Shady - Shade can be very tricky when photographing people, adjust the white balance for sunny, warm-looking photos.


White Balance -


Still uncertain about your camera's capabilities? Learn more about Common Camera Terms, or download the Camera Modes and Settings Cheat Sheet, and refer to it whenever you like!

For a complete guide to taking your camera off of auto and other amazing tips for taking great photos, check out Creating Keepsakes special issue, Better Digital Photos and Scrapbooking (available in both print and digital formats). It's full of ideas to help you make the most of digital technology for taking, editing, enhancing, sharing, and scrapbooking your photos.


Natalie McConnell, Editor


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