How to Get Correct White Balance

February 16, 2021

Are you struggling with getting correct white balance?

Let’s start with what white balance is.

It’s the temperature of a photo. It’s measured on a blue and yellow spectrum. When you have a proper white balance, your whites look white (and not blue or yellow).

The First Step to Proper White Balance

The first step to getting the correct white balance is correct exposure. Your meter being on 0 and not plus or negative.

Not overexposed. Not underexposed. Juuuust right. Kind of like Goldilocks and The 3 Bears, if you will.

Your skin tones look right and your whites look white.

Still struggling with proper exposure? Check out my 3 Step System to Shooting in Manual Mode here.

Using Kelvin

The easiest way to get the correct white balance is using Kelvin. This is a learned skill that takes time. Ready for another analogy? Using Kelvin is similar to drawing your bath water. You don’t want the water too hot or too cold, you want it just right. It’s the same with Kelvin. You don’t want your image too warm (higher kelvin) or too cold (lower kelvin).

When shooting in natural light, I start my Kelvin at 5600K. Snap that picture and then look at it on the back of your camera screen. Then I ask myself “is this too warm, too cool, or just right?” If you’re seeing a lot of blue/green in your whites, you need to raise your Kelvin. If you’re seeing too much orange/yellow in your whites, you need to lower your Kelvin.

So once you re adjust your kelvin in whichever direction you need to, take another test shot.

Repeat until it looks just right!

Skin Tones and Kelvin

You’ll know when you’ve achieved this because the skin tones will look normal!

Which leads me to why learning correct white balance is super important. Everyone wants those beautiful, creamy skin tones and correct white balance is how you get those!

If your clients look blue, you need to increase your kelvin. If your clients look orange, you need to decrease your kelvin.

Be sure and take those test shots until what you’re seeing on the back of your camera is what you’re seeing in ‘real life’!

Are you a visual learner? Find my youtube video explaining all of this here.




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