Using White Balance – Camera Basics

On this basic video tutorial the guys from ProAV TV in the U.K. take a look at the foundations of white balance and why it is important to get it right in camera.

Our eyes are very good at doing “automatic white balance”, however our cameras are not always as good and we need to make sure our white balance is set to the correct setting (this is also true so that we wan’t have to mess around too much in post production).

You can use automatic white balance (AWB) but this has disadvantages if you shoot in complex lighting conditions or in changing lighting conditions as you will see the change in WB in your video (for stills this might be less of an issue although if you want to mass process many images – it can also be an issue).

Another option is to choose a costume white balance which fits the lighting condition you are currently in (shade/tungsten/indoors etc.), this can be better and it doesn’t change, however if the scene is lit by several different lights you might need to manually set the color temperature in your camera.

Most modern cameras (apart from some low end models) allow for setting the exact color temperature in kelvin in the camera.

Finally maybe the best option is to take a white paper and place it in the frame in the area you want to shoot (where the light falls on your subject) and create a custom white balance (almost all cameras have this feature – you should read in your camera’s manual how to do this in your specific camera model).

This is the best way to get accurate white balance, however if you are shooting a moving subjects or you are shooting in a changing lighting conditions – it still might not be good enough…

We have looked at different aspects of setting and working with white balance both in camera and in post processing here on LensVid. You can check out “How to Set up White Balance“, “6 Tips To Help You Understand White Balance and Color Temperature“, “How to Use Neutral Guides to Set white balance in Photoshop” and “How to Do Custom Camera White Balance with a Gray Card“.

You can check out many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.