If you’ve been following the shoot-along you know that all our amazing photography tutorials have been done by the lovely and talented Carrie Butler. She is hilarious and wonderful and has a knack for taking photography skills out from behind the glass and explaining them in a way that makes them seem comfortable, even possible.
I was in awe that Carrie was able to fit in today’s tutorial among some whirlwind things that she is involved with right now. If you have a tissue handy, and want to hear a love story you’ll never forget, you can read a little more on her blog.
But for now, I am ready to sit in on another fantastic tutorial. Thank you, Carrie!
Think of the white balance on a photo as the temperature of the photo, we have all taken photos that feel too cool, or too warm. This is easily adjustable.
I am 100 % sure there is a fancy and technical way to change the white balance on your cameras, readers. I used to employ that fancy and technical way, back when I shot photos in a studio in my basement. It involves white cards and numbers, and headaches and just one more thing to remember, so I quit doing it. I am going to tell you the way I do it now, its not always 100% accurate but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make to save time.
There is a white balance function on almost every camera now, even my cell phone camera has one. The one I generally choose is the AWB, auto white balance. Every once in a while my photos will look a little blue, a little off. Like the people in the photo are freezing or something. So all I do is switch the white balance function from “auto” to “cloudy” and voila! The photos are instantly warmer and the people in the photos look like they are basking in sunlight. Especially a useful tip for these cold winter days we have in front of us.
Here are a couple of before/after examples taken by my friend Erica.
The image to the left was shot on AWB, the image to the right is shot with the little cloud icon. See what a huge difference it makes to the feeling of the picture?
Another fast and easy trick I use to change the white balance, especially if I am shooting in a location that has a variety of different light coming from different sources, is in post process. I use Lightroom but I am sure there is a function that is similar in some of the free software out there, such as picnik . (as a side note, I adore Lightroom, I would marry it if I didn’t love my husband so much. You can download a 30 day trial from Adobe for free if you want to take it for a spin, and there are all kinds of amazing and free tutorials on how to use it on Itunes and youtube. )
Once my photo is in Lightroom, I simply drag the temperature sliders to the left or right until I feel like the skin looks naturally warmer then the original photo. It takes less then ten seconds to get the look I am going for, and is often a little more accurate then if I had spent the time adjusting the white balance back and forth on location. Here is a sample.
It is just a slight difference but I think it really improves the feeling of the photo, notice his head is just a little more pink in the second photo.
So that is it, a simple, quick tip to change the temperature of your photos. Super easy, right?
There are several other white balance settings you can choose, these are the ones I use most often. So, here is your assignment, get out and take a series of photos using first the AWB as a comparison, the switching the white balance through all of the different settings at the same location. Then come inside, turn on the lights and repeat. If you have a place that has mostly florescent lighting, shoot there too. Lets see what you get!
Here are some tips…
- Do you sometimes shoot indoors, with the flash off, adjusting your shutter speed slower and your iso up, and the photo looks all pink or red? Try adjusting your WB to the little lightbulb icon or the florescent lightbulb icon and see if that makes a difference.
- Have fun, this is a really easy to instantly change the look of a picture without much effort on your part!
- Make sure you let us know what photos you got, leave a comment and let us all know where to go to check them out!
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