Now, white balance (WB) is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. It’s got to do with color temperature. Normally our eyes compensate for lighting conditions with different color temperatures. But a digital camera needs to find a reference point which represents white. It will then calculate all the other colors based on this white point. For instance, if a halogen light illuminates a white wall, the wall will have a yellow cast, while in fact it should be white. If you don’t get WB right, your picture will have yellow, blue, red, orange or even a green color cast.
Photos: Sean McHugh/Cambridge in Colour
How do you avoid it? You can rely on the AWB or some other setting in your camera if you’re a point-and-shooter, or if you’re the sophisticated type like pro photographer Ed Hidden, you use BalanceSmarter.
It’s a flexible disk with a carefully calibrated white and grey on each side where you aim your camera to get a reference. After that, the pictures you shoot will have the correct white balance.