Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cheap Alternative for Getting Your White Balance Right

You just got a DSLR this Christmas... Now what?

Well, one of the things you should know is to learn how to get the white balance of your photos correct. Why is that? Well, you can get some pictures that are more yellow than others, sometimes more blue than what you like, and you should learn how to correct for that. (For a more general discussion of white balance, check out this wikipedia entry.)

Check out my picture below:

Shot with a Canon 5D Mark II

My subject is supposed to be color white but because of the color of the light source, my picture has a really warm tone. So, if I want to produce the white "dress", I would need to have something to correct for the warm tone.

There are a lot of choices out there but I saw this cheap alternative that still gives magnificent results. It's the Polaroid White Balance Lens Cap 77mm. (I got this since the filter size of my "biggest" lens is 77mm.)

So how do you correct your white balance?

First, you have to do a calibration shot. This is done by knowing what the light falling on your subject is like:

If this is how I shoot my subjects...

...then this is how I do a WB calibration shot.
Essentially, "shoot" the location where you would take the picture. That's it!

Well, first, I should mention, you should set your DSLR to the Program (P) or Aperture-Priority (Av) Mode. Then set your camera to manual focus - with the WB cap on your lens, the camera won't be able to focus onto anything. Then, as in a Canon DSLR, take a shot, set that shot as the WB reference, and set your WB mode to Custom. (For shooters with a different brand, please consult your User Guide to change your WB. The important thing is how to get the shot for reference.)

After this, simple process, shoot away!

Shot with a Canon 5D Mark II

Perfect! I got the white balance that I wanted!

And if your point-and-shoot can do custom white balance, then just use the same lens cap to get the proper setting.

These two photos were shot using the Canon Powershot SX230 HS.

And for less than $10, you've got yourself a really good deal!

Photos made by the Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens and a Canon Powershot SX230 HS.


  1. Just learned this a few months back in my Canon S95. I realized that I've been shooting some yellowish pictures without adjusting the WB.

  2. ey carl, check my "cheap" alternative for getting the white balance here: http://bit.ly/uVccFy



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