Understanding White Balance and Color Temperature in Digital Images


Many years ago, back in the days of wired telephones and film, most photographers did not give white balance (WB) or color temperature much thought. Those who did would carry around color-correction filters to screw onto the front of their lenses that would cancel out the color casts of the artificial or natural light illuminating a scene. If you were paying attention back in those ancient times, you may have noticed that some film was marketed specifically for indoor or outdoor use or specific light sources.

My guess is that many digital photographers do not give color temperature or white balance much thought, either. In fact, I pretty much know this because, when I shop on the Web, I see many examples of images that show a definite color cast. This is not usually a big deal unless you are shopping for a ceramic bowl with a cream-colored center and the color cast of the shot makes the bowls with white centers look cream-colored. In photos, generally, we want white things to look white.

Your eyes, by the way, are incredibly good at removing color casts from the scene registered in your brain. White objects look white to our eyes unless heavy filtration is added to the light source or, in the case of a setting or rising sun, the sunlight passes through an abundance of atmosphere, causing the light to shift to a more yellow, or “golden,” cast.

So, if you are shooting a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, or even an advanced point-and-shoot, you may have stumbled across a menu setting or button that allows you to adjust the white balance in the camera. In this discussion, we will talk about how and why you might want to adjust that setting so that, from this point on, I don’t buy a bunch of cereal bowls on the Web that are the wrong color.

Color Temperature

What in the world is white balance, you ask? Well, basically, it is a setting that tells the camera how to register color temperature. Um, what does “temperature” have to do with “color?” Well, color temperature is a measurement of the hue of a particular light source. It is measured in Kelvin units. We measure cold and heat with thermometers calibrated to show us these units, so how come we are talking about color using the same unit of measure? Well, thanks to Lord William Thomson, the 1st Baron Kelvin (a British engineer and mathematical physicist who was directly responsible for forming the first and second laws of thermodynamics) who heated carbon, an “incandescent radiator,” and noticed that as it got hotter, the color of the carbon changed as it heated, we have a color-temperature scale. The hot-or-cold Kelvin temperature scale starts at absolute freezing 0K (-273.15ºC) while the hue-based Kelvin scale relating to color temperature starts with black as the zero point. The visible spectrum of the Kelvin scale ranges from about 1700K to 12000K or more. To the left of the visible portion of the scale is infrared. To the right is ultraviolet.

Have you ever noticed how the stars in the night sky are different colors? Well, this color is directly attributed to the surface temperature of the star where blue and white stars are hotter than yellow and red stars.

Still with me? Like many subjects we have discussed, you can easily dig deeper into the topic, but, for the photographer, what you need to know is that every light source emits light with a unique hue and that hue is measured in Kelvin units. Want to solidify the bridge between Kelvin’s temperature and hue? In his later years, the lord served on the board of Kodak Limited, a British company affiliated with Eastman Kodak. Further tying the “temperatures” together, while adding a bit of confusion, we are accustomed to saying that colors that move toward red are “warm” and colors towards blue are “cool,” even though the cooler colors have higher Kelvin temperatures.

Lighting Hues

So, let’s get back to photography. When you are out taking photos, be it outside under the sun and clouds, or inside using lamps or strobes, the light emitted from every light source casts its own hue on the scene. Fluorescent light has a different hue than tungsten, which has a different hue than candlelight, which has a different hue than quartz, which has a different hue than sodium vapor, etc. Many modern LED lights for video and photography feature adjustable hues, or they might be daylight or tungsten balanced out of the box. These hues can either be captured by your camera’s sensor or film, or it can be neutralized with filters or electronics so that the white interior of the cereal bowl, photographed beneath a “warm” incandescent light bulb, still looks white instead of beige.

As I stated earlier, in the days of film, or if you shoot film today, you can get indoor- or outdoor-balanced film, or add filters to your lens to cancel out the color cast. With digital cameras, you can select a white balance setting for your camera to remove the color cast digitally.

Most digital cameras have the following white balance settings: Auto (A), and then, from warm to cool, Tungsten (light-bulb symbol), Fluorescent (symbol resembling a light tube), Daylight (sun symbol), Shade (a house casting a shadow symbol), Cloudy (cloud symbol), Flash (lightning-bolt symbol), or Manual/Preset. The manual/preset option allows you to dial-in a specific Kelvin-unit setting. One thing you need to know is that these preset WB settings do not guarantee that you will neutralize a color cast. Kelvin temperatures for specific lights are estimates and not precisely matched to each and every light source out there. For example, the sun changes color temperature as it moves across the sky, due to the ever-changing thickness and makeup of the atmosphere that filters the light. Also, we are usually being bombarded by multiple light sources when not in a controlled studio environment. Sitting at my desk here, I have fluorescent lights above, the illumination of the computer screens before me, and cloud-filtered sunlight coming in through the office windows.

White Balance in Photos

Now that we are experts on color temperature and white balance settings, we need to figure out a plan for using this in our photography. And, before I get started down this path, let me assure you that there are a great many different opinions on how to proceed here, so, if you have heard something else, or want to share other ideas, please feel free to fill up the comments section below with your suggestions, tips, or thoughts. Also, know that there is no one correct way of using your camera’s white balance settings. I’ll return to this thought at the end, after I run the risk of stirring the proverbial pot.

There are three basic approaches you can take to white balance: 1) you may leave your camera on Auto WB and let the electronic brain inside your camera evaluate the scene and then try to figure out the best white balance to use, 2) you can observe/estimate the color cast and dial a pre-set WB based on the lighting conditions (sunny, cloudy, shade, fluorescent, etc.), or 3) you can set the WB by manually setting the Kelvin temperature to a neutral (white or gray) point in the scene or on a dedicated “gray card.” The manual method requires that you either add a gray card to the scene in a test shot or calibrate to a neutral area of the frame and then take another photo with the white balance adjusted. Many cameras have specific procedures for measuring a manual WB setting. To figure out how to manually set a custom white balance with your camera, grab your manual, or the Internet, and give it a try.

Whichever method you choose, white balance is something that can also be adjusted in post processing by many photo-editing software systems. If you are shooting raw images, you will have a greater control of white balance adjustments in post processing. With JPEG images, you may still be able to adjust white balance after the image is captured, depending on what kind of software you are using, but the level of adjustment will be less effective than what you can achieve with the raw images.

If you correctly select your WB manually, or use a WB preset that is spot-on, when you look at your image on your LCD, or on your color-corrected monitor at home, white objects will appear white in the photograph. Other colors will be true as well. Many times, Auto WB will work great for you, but Auto WB is often confused by multiple color temperature light sources. However, if due to a misreading by the Auto WB setting or an erroneous manual WB setting, the image has a color cast, then you can work on neutralizing that color cast in post processing by using the software’s white balance presets, or an eyedropper tool to select a neutral-colored (usually gray) area of the image so that the software sets a specific white balance to neutralize the hue.

One mistake I have made, many times, is that I will forget to change my white balance back to the original setting after I have tweaked it for a series of photos. I’ve been known to do the same with ISO and Image Quality settings. Ugh. If you always leave your camera on Auto WB, you will never have to worry about taking a full day’s worth of photos in the bright sun with your white balance set to eliminate a tungsten color cast. If you already feel overwhelmed by the multitude of options that your digital camera is presenting to you, please do not feel like you have to now throw white balance onto that pile. I am sure many “pros” will say that I am leading you down a path toward destruction, but I generally set my white balance to Auto and neutralize (or not) in post processing.

Go with the Flow

Remember what I said above about there not being one correct way to go about adjusting white balance? Well, I will stand by that. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: photography is art. Art is subjective. Therefore, if you take an image that has a decidedly blue color cast, either because you told the camera to give it that cast, the camera was set incorrectly, or the camera’s Auto WB missed, and you like that blue color cast because you feel that it works for that image, then there is absolutely no rule of photography that says you need to neutralize your white balance for that image—or any others.

In my own night photography, I often struggle with how to deal with color casts. I generally shoot with Auto WB and then I debate, in post processing, if I should neutralize the color cast from street lamps or other light sources. There are times where I leave the cast in the image, and there are times when I attempt to neutralize it. It all just depends on how I feel about the image and the effect the color cast has on the mood and feel of the frame. Of course, there are times when accurate color rendition is needed in a photograph, be it for commercial or certain artistic demands.

The bottom line on white balance is that it is up to you, the artist, on how and when to adjust your white balance, or to adjust it at all. Hopefully, this article serves to give you a bit of background knowledge and a plan for how you deal with color casts, moving forward in your photography.

The only time you should definitely, absolutely, remove color casts in your photos is when your product shots on the Web are going to cause me to buy the wrong cereal bowls!


If I've seen it once, I've seen it a hundred times. The term "degrees Kelvin" is incorrect. Kelvin temperature is NOT measured in degrees. "Degree" is used to describe temperature on the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales. "Kelvin" can be described as a unit, a number, or a value but NOT a degree. For example, Daylight refers to 5200 Kelvin units, NOT 5200 degrees Kelvin.

Hey Anthony,

If I had a nickel for every time someone caught my mistakes on the web...I would be retired. :)

Thank you for setting us straight. I will forward this to our copy editor for revision and I will cease and desist using "degrees" from henceforth!

Thanks for reading and thanks for keeping us right!



I have made the suggested edits and have learned something, as well. Thank you for pointing this out to us, Anthony B. May your Kelvin units always run cool.

Hi , i have 2 para flash and one backlight flash Godox dp 600 . 

i have Nikon D7100 


when i shoot in Auto-balance and manuel shooting , its amazing in Dark or normal colors . 

but when i have light colors like mango + yellow + light blue + light red 

its too shining. in dark colors Products are perfect quality and i can see everything in picture.


the problem is i have so many products for shooting and i can't change setting when i am shooting one products.


if i need to use color test - if i need to use lightroom please help me. thank you so much

i forgot to say that : when i change contrast - f/14 + 125 + Auto WB

when i change this setting . all background light is going . and picture will be dark


Hey Dj D!

Thanks for your question. While I cannot pinpoint the issue with your camera and/or flashes, I will recommend this possible solution:

1) Make sure you are shooting raw format images to give the most white balance adjustment flexibility possible when post processing—hopefully in Lightroom. The camera's WB can be in auto if shooting raw.

2) As you are shooting products, place a gray card into each scene with the product. Take a photo with the gray card in the frame and then with the gray card outside of the frame.

3) When you post process the raw images, you can use the WB eyedropper tool in Lightroom to neutralize the image color on the gray card. You can then apply those WB numbers to the frame without the gray card...hoping that the flash and ambient light color is constant.

That should solve any issues with unwanted fluctuations in the camera's WB and will give you maximum flexibility.

Let me know if that helps! Thanks for reading!



thank you so much for your help

well this method you explained to me is amazing and so helpful and i will do it in my next shooting.

there is just one problem , i don't know too much about lightroom but i have experience about using photoshop around 18-20 years. so the new question is can i use photoshop when picture format going to be raw ? 

or should i learn about lightroom to adjust color + light + contrast of all pictures i shoot daily for my products ?

and last question : is there any option in lightroom to adjust all pictures color+contrast+quality+light sync together in same ?

for example i shoot a picture in F/14 and shutter speed by 125 but next picture will be F/18 with same shutter speed . so is there any option in lightroom for sync all picture quality + contrast + light + color together ?


thank you so much

Hi Dj D!

You are welcome for the help.

I hope the next shoot goes well!

To answer your questions:

1) Photoshop will open raw images. You can make adjustments and save them under different file types—JPEG, TIFF, etc.

2) You can use either Lightroom or Photoshop for your adjustments. Lightroom is generally faster and easier.

3) While you cannot change the capture exposure, you can try to sync or match images in Lightroom so that they look very similar, if not the same. There are several ways to do this and many tutorials. Look up "Image Sync in Lightroom" and "Match Exposure in Lightroom" on the web and you will find many how-to videos that can teach it better than I can with words. :)

Standing by for more questions!



Thank you so much for your great help . i am musician Artist which you can search my name in google without Space (d j d a r k i) 

That's why i don't have true name on this account . i don't want to show my fans where i write or what i do :) i know you Understand better (because of Search Engine Optimizer)

thank you so much by the way . i will search "image Sync in Lightroom" and "Match Exposure in Lightroom" . God Bless you dear friend .



Hi Dj D,

You are welcome for the help! Thanks for reading Explora!




I think they are also related to each person's aptitude and aesthetic eye. of course, but the knowledge you share is very useful to me. More on choosing a photo composition please. Your article provided me with some unique and useful knowledge. I appreciate you sharing this text with apkdownload.com

Hi Pamela,

Thank you for the kind words.

B&H policy is that others can reprint the first 50 words of our articles and then link to the B&H URL for the full text. If you would like to re-post the content, please contact our legal department.




Hi Todd,

I experiencing slightly different problem/phenomenon. When I shoot portraits with strobes I use a white card and the custom white balance setting in the camera. Then in post I see that my subjects have somewhat correct WB but my "white" background (which is supposed to be a shade of gray depending on the distance) has a hue - it is never neutral. Then if I use the WB picker in Lightroom for example and select the background to be neutral - then the subject becomes off. Why is this happening?

Hi Kalin,

That sounds like an interesting issue, and I believe I have seen the same in my photography where the background seems to gain a tint where I thought it had been neutral.

As I am not an expert in physics or the topic of light, what I am about to say is more of an educated (don't look at my college transcripts) guess...

My theory is that light from a strobe might shift in color temperature as it reflects of other non-neutral sources (floor, ceiling, walls, subject's clothing, etc). Another idea is that the background might not be completely neutral.

Have you tried to use a white card semi-simultaneously at the subject and then at the background to see if it is indeed a color shift in the light as it travels...or to see if the background is truly neutral?

Also, do you ever shoot using AUTO WB and then correct later by using the picker on the gray card (or background)?

Note: I am going to ask around the office a bit and might circle back to edit this response if I get some better thoughts to pass along to you.

Thanks for reading!



Hi Kalin,

Here is some feedback from a colleague at B&H:

...Probably environmental sources and/or reflection off of other colors (walls, floor, clothes, etc)

...When he meters on a card it is a direct path of the light so it is accurate to the strobe, but everything that has something (a subject) between it and the light source is going to deal with reflections and bounce.

...solution would be to add a background light to out-compete whatever is messing it up.

...but this is why everyone always says to wear neutral colors for portraits. bright colors can end up messing up skin tones etc even from the tiny bit of reflection they give



Finally! I wasted an entire morning the other day trying to photograph my pottery. I was deeply disappointed with my pictures when my grey background was appearing a very light blue and my cobalt blue bottle was just bleah with a touch of meh. I knew I’d found the right answer when talked about the cream colored bowl appearing white.

Hi Lynn,

I am sorry you wasted your morning, but so glad you found an answer here!

Remember, you can adjust white balance in post processing with maximum flexibility afforded to your images if you shoot in the camera's raw format.

By the way, a gray background is a great place to balance your color temperature...some photographers carry a "gray card" and place it in a photograph for this very purpose! [https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1365030-REG/vello_wb_clii_white_balance_card_set.html]

Thanks for stopping by!



Great info! Is there any benefit to having a bi-color led light (where you can change color temperature) for your key light? Thanks!

Hi Dustin,

Thanks for the compliment on the article!

You can probably find a group of people who will say, "Yes, it is critical to image quality," and another group that will say, "It doesn't matter if you shoot in raw and adjust the WB in post."

I honestly don't who who is right and who is not as right.

In general, without science to back myself up, my thought is that the less post processing you need to do, the better your image will be...and, with proof to back myself up, the less time you will spend on the computer with each image.

Regardless of the light source, if you are shooting staged portraits, shoot in raw and use a gray card or color checker to help give yourself a baseline for the lighting you are using.

I hope this helps!

Happy New Year!



The warmer colors have lower Kelvin temperatures and the cooler colors have higher Kelvin temperatures. But in DSLR WB settings, it is just the opposite, the higher the value numbers, the warmer the hue... Quite confused.

Hey Alex,

Sorry for the delay...I was in Las Vegas at WPPI all week!

I think I understand why you may be confused...

If you set your camera's WB to "Incandescent Light"—a "warm" white balance at approximately 2500K, the image looks bluish, correct?

This is because the camera isn't trying to make things "warmer"...it is balancing the sensor to neutralize the warm light...by making it "cooler."

Does that clear things up? Like with many things in my brain, adding numbers to anything makes it confusing!



Just reading your post in 2018 but still pertinent. I echo the other comments that it is well written and easily understandable from an amateur's perspective. Thanks.

I have a specific question about how to achieve the warm color of candles from a birthday cake illuminating a face or from a fireplace illuminating a room but there are other lights from the room that you'd like to cancel out.

Hey Seven Mary Three,

First off, thanks for the kind words!

To answer your question: It depends...

The camera will evaluate the scene, and if on Auto WB, will pick a color temperature that it feels suits the scene best. If you want to control that process, dial in your own WB setting and shoot with it.

Or...shoot raw files and change the WB afterwards in post-processing. I can be more specific if you tell me what post-processing software you use, but, for example, in Lightroom, you can put the WB eye drop tool anywhere in your image to neutralize a white or gray area for whatever light source is hitting it...or move the WB slider to add or subtract warmth from the image.

I hope that helps...standing by for follow-ups!

My setup is pretty primitive.  I have tried using 3 of the small Ikea bendable Jansjo LED lights two raking and a third to brighten the front if needs be.  You have to put them back a ways to get a large enough swath of light behind the object.    I did the manual setup on my camera but it was still yellowish, so now when I edit my photos (of pottery etc.) I adjust the color saturation slightly, which cleans up the yellowish cast.  This is an easy edit. Thanks for the help.  My camera is an old Coolpix and explanation of Kelvin, perhaps when I get a more sophisticated camera will be able to do better.  

Hi Christine,

Sounds like its all working for you, but you can also try color-correcting gels on the lights to change things up, or, shoot in raw (if your camera allows it) and adjust white balance in post processing.

Even if you shoot JPEG, you can tweak the color balance a bit in post processing, but just not as much as you can with raw files.

Thanks for reading!

We shoot passports and need a white background.   The person looks OK but the backdrop has a bluish tint to it .  We tried different white balance settings and nothing seems to work.  We use a basic Kodak AZ251 digital camera.  Any ideas

Hey Jeff,

You could try to remove the color cast in a post processing program like Photoshop, Lightroom, or something even more basic. But, that might be adding an additional step to your production that you do not wish to take.

I assume you tried the pre-set white balance settings? This camera will also allow you to set white balance manually. Check page 40 of your manual. It doesn't really state a step-by-step procedure, but see if you can experiment a bit.

My next suggestion would be to change out your overhead lighting to something warmer if you are getting a blue cast.

Let me know how it works out!

Thanks for stopping by!


Nice article. Can anyone tell me what the letters in the A G B M colour grid stands for? And indeed what it does!? Thanks.

Hey Gordon,

We are collectively drawing a blank here at B&H. May I ask you to be more specific with your question? I tried a web search and am now a subject-matter expert on AGB-Manqué stars thanks to a CERN article, but I am fairly sure you are referring to something photographic.


Amber-Blue × Green-Magenta.

I am confused as the 1st illustration shows wam to cool order as: candlelight, household light, clear sky, flourescent lamp, flash, sun overhead, shade/overcast. However, the next illustration shows warm to cool order as: "Tungsten (light-bulb symbol), Fluorescent (symbol resembling a light tube), Daylight (sun symbol), Shade (a house casting a shadow symbol), Cloudy (cloud symbol), Flash (lightning-bolt symbol), or Manual/Preset." So in this case, flourescent is ahead of clear sky & shade is ahead of flash.  What am I missing? Which order is accurate?

Hi Marina,

It looks like our graphics folks kind of randomly placed the icons on the illustration without consideration for the "proper" order.

The order should be tungsten, florescent, daylight, flash, cloudy, shade.

My advice would be to capture in raw files and then adjust the white balance in post production so that you wont have to worry about WB or forget that you changed it!

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for reading!

Thank you for the excellent article.

Over the past 12 years I have scanned thousands of slides and negatives (and a few prints) dating up to 70 years. Many poor photos, due to a colorcast, have been miraculously restored to excellent photos in Elements.  There have been a few with faded dyes that I just couldn't restore.  Maybe a full Photoshop would help.

But I'm with you on leaving the WB set to auto.  It is a rare digital photo from my Minolta (Sony) SLR that I would think would be better on any other setting.

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the kind words!

Elements is a very powerful program, relatively speaking—especially when you compare it to the editing software of yesteryear. You might also want to try Lightroom. Full Photoshop may give you more precision, but in my opinion, Elements and Lightroom both match up well (or better in some ways) than the "photo" side of full Photoshop.

Auto keeps working for me. Sometimes it gets fooled, but not often. And, I rarely need to tweak it in post production unless I am trying to eliminate a specific cast.

Thanks for reading!

Hi Todd,

You have a nice writing style, which conveys many useful intangibles I haven't seen in typical internet discussions of digital color balancing.  I've studied WB/color temp some and I think I can balance my shots well enough.  However, I want to apply the principles in reverse, to approximate--add rather than remove--uniquely appealing (to me) color casts from photographs already made by others.  How can I become adept with color unbalancing

Hi Albers,

Thank you very much for the kind words! 

If I understand your question, you are looking to add a color cast to existing images. That is pretty easy if you are using Lightroom as you can simply click on some of the preset color balances or manually move the "Temp" and/or "Tint" sliders. You could also use the White Balance eye drop tool to assign a different area of the photo to be neutral. In Photoshop you would make the changes using Curves.

Does that answer your question?

Thank you Todd. 

I re-read my question, which was misleading.  In essence, I want to emulate, in camera, color casts I've seen in commercial photographs and motion pictures.  My WB fine-tuning adjustments of the amber-blue/green-magenta grids in-camera have not been productive using trial and error.  To me, this suggests my eye needs some training, but I'm not sure what type.  Any suggestions?  Have you published other related materials?  Once I've explored how much control I have in-camera, your post-production comments will come in very handy.  Thank you very much for any ideas.

Hey Albers,

Interesting idea. Again, I'll take a stab at giving you a good answer.

If you want to alter the color cast in camera, your options are to use the white balance presets or dial in a specific color temperature using the custom setting before you take the photo. This will give you almost as much flexibility as you will have in post-processing.

This cast will be applied to the JPEG file if you are capturing JPEG images or RAW + JPEG. You should see the color cast on the image review on the LCD, but the color rendition will be close, but not as accurate as on a calibrated monitor off the camera.

If you are shooting a mirrorless camera, or using some live view DSLR systems, you should also be able to see that color cast before capture on the image preview.

I've published a lot, but this is my only color temperature article. I always shoot in auto white balance and adjust the raw files in post production!

I hope this helps. If not, keep sending follow-ups!


Thanks Todd, for the explanation. I'm a late entry to the DSLR world, having bought my first DSLR from B&H in December 2013. I got into photography in 1980 when film was the only option. Back then, we had films balanced for daylight and tungsten; tungsten, or incandescent light bulbs, I think are no longer available. Neither are tungsten balanced films, other than CineStill 800.

I approach shooting digital as if I'm shooting film. Generally, I set my white balance to daylight since I'm shooting outdoors when the sun is abive the horizon. Now, I did set my white balance to auto when I was shooting basketball games since I didn't know what lighting was used. I figure that targeting for daylight suits the mood for the day. I haven't tried usiing auto white balance for shooting a sunrise or sunset, but that should be an experiment that I should try.

Hi Ralph,

No such thing as late to digital...only fashionably late!

Approaching digital as you approach film will pay dividends as you get more familiar with digital. Remember, you can always set your WB, and see how a test image looks on the LCD screen. If the tint is obvious, change your settings. Unless, of course, you like the tint!

Of course, you can always shoot RAW and have a pretty good control of the WB in the image after the capture.

Thanks for reading and writing in!

Todd....There is a lot to digest here and I need to read it a second and perhaps a third time. I shoot a lot in an ice rink that has multiple sources of light from the ceilings, hallways and stores around it (the rink is open to and surrounded on three sides by the interior of a large mall). In addition to all the light sources there is a large (think 250' x 30') window wall facing north. The result is a battle with WB, particularly with faces and skin tones. At times, well, all the time, no one setting seems to work although shooting during the day is better than after dark but not with consistency. To make matters worse, the problem seems to be compounded in different areas in and around the rink, understandably. It's definitely not a place to go cereal bowl shopping! I don't have this issue anywhere else I shoot. I've never manually set the Kelvin temperature and don't know if my digital cameras will allow this in the menus in addition to not knowing about it until today. I need to check. They must as all four of them were manufactured after 2008. Or do I need my Kodak Brownie back that I got for Christmas in 1958? What does one do in a situation where there are multiple, bright light sources? WB "Auto" doesn't help. I've basically given up. Thank you!

Hey Tom,

Thanks for being a regular reader!

Do not lose sleep! You are not alone in this technological conundrum. I assume you are shooting RAW, so your easiest plan may be to shoot in Auto WB and then do your adjustments in post processing. Or, pick the dominant light source and balance for it and tweak it in post processing.

Not the easiest, but your best solution might be to invest in a $4 gray card and do a manual balance when you arrive at the rink. Let me know what you are shooting and I can help you dive into the menus to see if you can set your WB manually.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Hi Todd....I really started getting into photography after moving to China 5 years ago for retirement. So it's still somewhat new to me in the sense that now I take it seriously for the first time in my life. I've had cameras since childhood but was never a big enthusiast. Now I always have a camera with me when venturing out. The first thing I learned in my new life is that there is so very much to learn about photography. It takes years and maybe decades of reading and doing.  It's so enjoyable and the camera almost always disarms people and makes friends! 

This is what I'm shooting with: a Sony HX 100 Superzoom; a Sony RX 100 M3; a Sony A7 with kit lens; rarely, my 12 year old Sony F828; Nikon D 90 with 18 - 105mm kit lens, 85mm macro lens, 55 - 300mm lens. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about getting a Nikon P 900 that you just reviewed! That will be next, I think, on my next trip home to Cape Cod.

I'll dig deeper into the menus as well, always a good way to learn your camera and to reinforce what you already know, or in my case, find out what I've forgotten! 

I am deeply appreciative of Explora, your writing and the generous sharing of your knowledge. Thanks so much.

Hey Tom,

Without digging too deep, my guess is your A7 and D90 are the only cameras that allow you to do a custom WB adjustment. The others probably do not.

There are probably more than a few online tutorials about how to set custom WB on these cameras, but if you run into a road block, let me know.

I assisted at a night photo workshop last night and one of the issues that seems to always come up is how to adjust your WB. There is really no right and wrong here, it just depends on what you want your final image to look like. If you up your game in post-processing software, you will find more options for adjusting it after the shoot. I keep happily shooting RAW images on Auto WB and enjoying the results.

On to your next note...

Hi Tom. I shook Nikon RAW, and use Capture NX to post process (at least the first step).  If I have a shot that has multiple color temps going on, I sometimes use the control points in NX to selectively change the hue or temp of certain areas.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it's more of a hassle than it's worth.

Thanks Bill! I post process with Apple's standard software app that comes with the Macbook Pro. It really doesn't help much with severe WB issues, although like Capture NX (that I've heard good things about), sometimes it make nice improvement. Something I need to do is to purchase better photo editing software. 

Hey Tom,

Back in the olden days, Photoshop was a sizeable investment. Now, however, things have changed. If you are just doing basic corrections, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Photoshop Lightroom (image editing and organization) or Photoshop Elements (a stripped down version of Photoshop photo editing software that does a lot more than you think the stripped down version would do). If you want both Lightroom and the full version of Photoshop, you can subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud for only $9.99 per month. Skip your coffee shop once a week to fund your photography habit!

Good luck!

Todd..Thanks! I'll look deeper into getting Photoshop or Lightroom. I have to stop procrstinating and get something better for post. And start shooting in RAW again. I stopped about three years ago and I'm not sure why. Time for a change. Look forward to your next article!

No worries, Tom! Remember, there is often a fine line between fun photography and work photography. Sometimes that line is blurred by many hours in front of the computer, so be sure to find a comfortable balance for your workflow. The most important thing is to keep making great images!

Bill, great stuff. Thanks for sharing and helping a fellow photographer!

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