Kate's blog - camera white balance, A fun guide about controlling the WB - Katey Jane Photography
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My guide to camera white balance

So you just bought that new camera and wonder what on earth are all hose settings do with the White balance! (WB) You may be like me and want to get the full use from your camera in manual  like controlling the white balance, it can be rewarding and dam right fun too! and it's not as hard as it makes out!

So before we start.

My PC is calibrated using a spider pro 4, the monitor is a budget AOC IPS type, if you into getting the best from your photography having a calibrated monitor is key!

WB of 6000K want the warmth of summer using Lee filters 3 stop grad

Lightroom base setting (matching the software to the camera)

Too much editing can take away the fun from going out in the real world. for me it's real world not software, but software is needed to pass convert raw files, to add those keywords, to write captions and convert to black and white if you shoot raw.

But I have some major issues with Lightroom and how it works with canon.

• Highlights that are clipping in camera are miles out in LR

• Colours in shadows washed out (almost gone)

This is a pain in the backside, I wish to photograph what I see, the moods and lighting without needing to spend hours making adjusting, this isn't photography but relying on software, I come from the good old days for film.

Settings in LR are matched by eye, using multi style shots to get as close to what i'm seeing in camera. what stands out most is the highlight clipping, highlights can be clipped in camera but be miles out in LR, so after adjusting both whites and highlights it's now matching canon's clipping.

The two images below. this is my base setting for standard no filters, there's 3 more base settings for Lee filters with has the basically the same as standard but with the purple sat sliders all the way to off (due to the filters giving far too much purple tint. the other 2 are high and low black and white contrast settings.

Using these settings gives me the most level shot match, what is seen in camera is almost as the same on the pc, no editing! this has taken around 10 months of solid work to match this system up. I'm not a fan of relying on software to create the shot, it should be down on location.

Mistake have been made along the way which has cost me many hours of work. part my fault and part Adobe.

Base settings are picked for all images. fast and simple when set up.

Colour correction, Canon faithful in LR has far too much orange which seams well known. so these simple adjustments have worked or me.

Click on images to full size


Auto has done a nice job here, it has the mid day harshness to it, the flowers are looking very nice. so in a nutshell you can use auto and take a look, if you don't like what you see try the next setting. you can always use auto as a base setting and improve on that.

Daylight 5200k

After going over all the images here to me this is the best one, it has warmth but has the colours like yellow looking great.

Shade 7000k

As you can see by the orange tint this setting is far too warm. it will work in near dark conditions.

Cloudy 6000k

A setting for dawn or near dark conditions, I'm not overly keen on ths setting, my eyes sees it as too warm even when used right.

Because I like mood i don't wish to have the photos to warm.


I hate this setting, its fixed at something like 6400 so if you want moods it's useless.

White fluorescent 4000k

The wrong setting but gives you a good idea of how it works. another setting I never use.

Tungsten light 3200k

As stated and what's it's for, I guess these setting will be a thing of the past due to modern LED lighting.

K full manual control, i picked 5200k

My main interest, going with feelings and the conditions but it's a mixed bag of either spot on images or a total mess because I have forgotten to adjust the Kelvin.

My weapon of choice is Canon's 7d mk2 and most of the WB controls may well be available on all Canons cameras.

As you can see in the above images the colours can be rather interesting and almost funky in look haha.

So this tends to work for me or i,m very close.

For daytime 5500k this gives just the right amount of warmth for me. if it's too warm looking in camera I may drop it to 5300.

I like a coldness to clouds so using 5500 works in duller conditions but if too dull bump up to 5700 may well work. 

Want blue hour morning or dusk then use daylight 5500, want a deeper blue just lower the number, want warmer bump those number up to 6000k

Do what ever suits you but if you take the base settings for a given conditions it wont be far out, it's a great fun way to start.

Best way is to start with daylight settings, use that as a standard white balance and if you after a certain look then either bump up those numbers remember 6000 is warmer sandy looking tint than 5500 and 5000 is colder a blue look to images.

For blue hour I went for 5100 k, want a deeper blue try 4500K

Blue house photography, sunset landscape framed art prints UK

So this is Canon's WB setting, for other makes they may have the same kind of icons and Kelvin numbers.

What I find interesting are the cloudy and shade setting, you see clouds and think mmm I better use those setting but for me it it takes away the feeling of mood, so again it's your choice if you like warm images go for the setting that suits you.

For LR users, you may notice those setting have changed, lets say daylight at 5200 Lightroom will change it to 5150, that is Adobe not using all date from the camera files, I think they use a standard rule for a given number when reading date from cameras.

The beauty of mist and fog 5150 k That's daylight, keeps those rich colours of Autumn but still keeping the mood Setting was daylight 5200 but remember Lightroom lowers those numbers

Final thoughts

I don't think WB is the hardest thing to work on, with modern kit you can clearly see what's working or not.

The  camera will get only 30-50% right, they work at their best in the daytime, when conditions changes it's time to move away fro auto WB. the key is have fun and laugh t at the errors you will no doubt make.

How many mistake will i make compared to the camera you ask? i will be around 60 - 70 % where i want it, if i'm out it will be by one adjustment but this has only been within the last 5 months, after many months of frustration due to LR and camera miss matching, loads of trial and error with air bluer than blue hour lol.

I believe in trying to get it right on location, it's far more fun and it's far more rewarding than relying on software, By gaining control of your camera it will open up a new world.