Exercise: Colour Cast and White Balance

PART ONE:

For this exercise, you were first advised to familiarise yourself with the exact procedure for altering the white balance on your camera.

Find the following outdoor lighting situations, each of which has a different colour temperature:

  • Sunlight
  • Open shade on a sunny day
  • Cloudy

For each of these, choose a scene, subject or person to photograph. Take 4 versions of the image, but change the white balance options on you camera for each image. Start with auto white balance, and change it to cloudy for example.

In your processing software, note the differences, and compare the results for each scene. Note that the auto white balance will have attempted to make the best result under the circumstances, but may still be slightly different from the rest of the three others.

Sunlight:

Auto White Balance

auto

Cloudy

cloudy

Daylight/Sunlight

daylight

Shade

shade

After looking at the images, the auto white balance image is the most truthful. The image taken with cloudy white balance is extremely similar to the auto white balance image. However, the green in the grass and the blue in the sky are slightly more saturated. I am surprised that the cloudy setting is similar to the auto white balance (Even though there were clouds in the sky), mainly because when I took this photograph, I was stood in the direct sun, it was a really hot day and the sun was really shining. I expected the auto white balance image to be more similar to the daylight/sunlight white balance, because I was stood in the direct sun, however, when I looked at the images on the computer, the daylight/sunlight white balance has a blue cast to the overall image. The shade white balance image has an orange cast to the overall image.

Open shade on a sunny day:

Auto White Balance

auto

Cloudy

cloudy

Daylight/Sunlight

daylight

Shade

shade

After looking at these images, they are very similar to the images above. The auto white balance image is the most truthful and the cloudy white balance is very similar to the auto white balance. The daylight/sunlight white balance has a blue cast to it, and the shade white balance has an orange cast to it.

Cloudy:

Auto White Balance

auto

Cloud

cloud

Daylight/Sunlight

daylight

Shade

shade

When looking at these images, the auto white balance again is the one most truthful. However, I must admit that I prefer the image taken with daylight/sunlight white balance. The auto white balance image has a slight blue cast, where as the ones taken with the shade and cloud white balance have an orange cast to them. The image taken with daylight/sunlight is just right in my opinion, it has the right amount of colour saturation, and the visual colour temperature isn’t too warm or too cold.

Conclusion:

I am surprised that out of all three of the exercises, the auto white balance setting is the setting which is most true to the actual setting/subject that was photographed. I was expecting at least one or two, to be more accurate when taken with another white balance setting, however, I can see similarities in some. I am pleased with all of the images, and I think that it depends on someone’s personal preferences as to what setting is the ‘best’. All of the images can be used, it just depends on whether or not you want an image with a visual cool colour temperature, or a warm colour temperature. I sometimes prefer images with a warm colour temperature, or some with a cool colour temperature, it just depends on the subject that has been photographed.

PART TWO:

For this part, you are asked to find and shoot a mixed lighting source scene. One of the most predictably mixed is an Indoor/Outdoor scene at dusk, in which the interior is lit by incandescent lighting (Orangeish) while the exterior, under a clear sky, is Blueish. Whether you decide to shoot from the inside looking out, or the outside looking in through a window or as door, it is important to get the timing right. The point in which the light levels between indoor and outdoor are approximately the same.

Shoot 3 versions of the following white balance settings for this scene.

  • Sunlight
  • Tungsten/Incandescent
  • Auto

Compare the results.

For this part of the exercise, I decided to photograph the window in my bedroom. I set up my small bed side lamp under the window, so I could show the changes in the colour of the lamp, and the light through the window, when I change white balance. (Ps. The top part of the window is not over exposed, there is a clear sticker on the window for privacy)

Auto White Balance

Auto White Balance

Cloudy White Balance

Cloudy White Balance

Daylight White Balance

Daylight White Balance

Shade White Balance

Shade White Balance

Tungsten White Balance

Tungsten White Balance

White Flourescent White Balance

White Fluorescent White Balance

After looking at the photographs, the auto white balance is the one which is most truthful. It is very similar to the photograph taken with Shade white balance. There are similarities between Cloudy white balance and Daylight white balance. I had to look closer at the cloudy and daylight because they are similar to auto and shade, however, when I look at the colour around the window on both images, there is a blue colour cast, more on the daylight image. Whereas the auto and shade do not. Tungsten white balance is significantly different to the others. This image has a blue colour cast over all the image. It has a ‘Cool’ colour temperature. The window light has become very ‘Blueish’ and the lamp has become almost white, whereas in the other images, it is orange. The white fluorescent white balance is similar to the tungsten image, however, it has only a slight blue colour cast, mainly in the window area. The lamp is still white compared to the others that are orange, although there is a slight orange colour cast to it.

If I had to choose a favourite, I would choose the image taken with Daylight white balance. The image isn’t over powered by an orange colour cast. However, I would try to correct the parts that are underexposed.

 

 

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