When you take a photograph, does the photo look warm or does it look cool? The appearance of the image depends on the overall color temperature of the photo. Whether that color temperature in the photo accurately represents reality is something else. That’s where balance comes in. Is the color temperature in your photograph balanced with what you see in the real world? If not, you have an issue with your white balance. If it is, you’re fine. Your colors are balanced.
Most of the time, you can use your camera’s auto white-balance setting. This is fine for the good majority of your shots. The only instances when your camera may have issues with guessing which white balance setting it should use is when you’ve got mixed light in your scene. For instance, if you’re inside a school classroom that’s using cool fluorescent lighting for illumination and you’ve also got warm sunlight coming through the window, you may end up with your camera choosing an incorrect option for the temperature. It may try to compensate for the fluorescent lighting instead of the daylight or vice-versa. In these cases, you can either choose to set your own white balance inside the camera before taking your shot or you can use a white balance card to gauge the temperature of the lighting in the scene. If you take this route, you’ll be able to edit your images later on during post-processing.
Since I’ve already written on this topic extensively, I’ve taken the liberty to add some links to some great articles down below. Please click through to learn all about this wonderful facet of photography.
What Is White Balance In Photography?
Can You Fix Photo White Balance With Adobe Camera Raw?
Adjusting White Balance of Multiple Photos In Adobe Camera Raw
Adjusting White Balance in Adobe Lightroom
Adjusting White Balance For Night Photography in Adobe Camera Raw
Tips For Setting Camera White Balance for Night Photography
How to Set the White Balance on a Canon Rebel DSLR Camera
Comment: I have learned a lot from you. I thought I knew about white balance but now my whole idea got changed. When I take photos on my I phone I correct some tones and try to balance the photo. My question is when I change the black point, am I actually changing the white balance? Are both of them the same thing?
Reply: Thank you, I’m glad to help. By changing the tone and black point on your camera, I think you’re adjusting the contrast, lightness, and darkness in your images. This is different than white balance. When thinking about white balance, think about the photograph’s temperature. White balance controls how yellow or blue an image is. If the picture is more yellow, the scene will appear to be warmer. If the picture is more blue, the scene will appear to be cooler. In post-processing applications such as Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, the Temperature slider is contained in the White Balance area.