So here we go . . . it’s confession time. I photographed in auto white-balance for a looooooong time. I truly felt like my camera was doing a good enough job at setting it for me and that my color was good enough as well. But that was the big problem . . . my images were “good enough.” How could that possibly separate me from my competition? How could it mean that I was a professional? It couldn’t. The only want, I truly believe, to be a professional is to have control over your camera settings and for me, this included white balance. So I went out and bought a Calibration Target, which sat in a corner for several more months because I was afraid of change and didn’t know how to use it. Finally, I asked someone how to custom white-balance and voila! My color was no longer good enough . . . it was just plain good. And sometimes, but still not always because I am the first to admit I’m still learning, it is great. What does this mean for me? Several things:
- better exposures, good looking histograms and clean true-to-life color
- faaaaaar less time “fixing” color in Lightroom, which means more time for other things (like family!)
- nicer prints and products for my clients
- a more professional photography studio – I am doing something that your average amateur does not do
If you don’t know how to set a custom white-balance in your camera, I can’t encourage you enough to do so. Here is a YouTube videos that I think are helpful for learning to white balance the camera I use, a Canon 5D Mark II.. Of course, if this isn’t your model, then search for your own camera’s video or ask a friend! Then practice so that it is second nature for you when you go to photograph a session. And then enjoy how nice it is to get it right in-camera while you’re doing something fun with your kiddos!
Canon 5D Mark II – I like the simplicity of this video, but I do take issue with her use something “relatively white” line. Find something that is truly white (printer paper is not . . . it has a touch of cyan added to it for brightness!) or use an 18% grey card! I like Photovision’s Calibration Target. Lastolite also makes the Ezybalance which I’ve heard is great and I’ve use a couple of time.
Have a great day everyone!
And I want to thank Paint the Moon (one of our sweet sponsors) for the fabulous actions used on this image! Getting it right in-camera doesn’t mean you can’t play a little in-computer!