White Balance Experiment

Currently, I am taking an online digital photography class. And the exercise is on white balance. I realized this is one of the features I haven’t explore much. There are over 15 different choices of WB on the menu, and have used only three settings — sun, cloudy, and 5560K (color temperature).  In my quest for a creative and sharper image, I have neglected to learn the importance of the WB function. Instead I’ve focused mostly on the shutter speed and aperture. And relying on Photoshop to fix any color problems.

For the experiment, I used an orange sitting on a light box with natural light from the window. No post processing other than cropping. You can see the difference in color temperature, saturation, and clarity of the image with various WB settings. 

The settings for the 6 images are:
50mm Nikkor prime lens
ISO 200
2 s – f/22


Photo 1: WB 5560K


Photo 2: Flash (but without using flash)


Photo 3: Direct Sunlight


Photo 4: Sodium Vapor Lamps (Not sure exactly what it is but looks deadly 😉


Photo 5: Incandescent


Photo 6: Auto Select (Looks like the camera knows best… the colors are more accurate, especially the green leaf. )

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8 Comments on “White Balance Experiment

  1. ah white balance. i learned a lot about it when learning to scan film. getting accurate colors from a not-so-high end flatbed film scanner is challenging. but its also helped me a lot in correcting horrible color casts n stuff..and i think my digital photography is better off now too!

    • Thanks Nigel. I’m taking the class from Sessions School of Design. They are located in New York City. I am working on getting my masters in Web Design and Photography.

  2. I really like how you have broken it down w/the examples. I like shot two (flash…without the flash) the best, the thing that sold me is the “innards” of the orange, how it glows! On a side not, Jolene…get the d300, you know you will love it (sorry Emily, Jolene and I have had this discussion already)!

    • No problem David… don’t mean to inject into your discussion 🙂 But, I still like to give her my two cents of opinion. Personally, with her talent; I think she will love either one. 😉

      • Oh no worries Emily, this is your blog after all! Jolene and I have had conversations about the “not really the body but the glass and the photog” before! I am sure she loved your great commentary regarding the body/glass! 😀

  3. These are great examples. I’ve often thought, the best way to learn is to change one setting at a time, like white balance, and watch the difference in photos.

    How do you like your d90? I’ve been thinking about buying one as a Christmas gift to myself, but not sure if I should get it or keep saving for the d300.

    • Thanks Jolene. I love my d90 and think it’s a great camera especially for the price. It has a lot of features that I probably will never use, like the video. And it has many other features that I find very useful. As for the d300… it does have some extra features that d90 doesn’t have. But overall, they are very similar. I guess you need to decide if the extra features on d300 is worth the extra 600 dollars and if you will use them. Personally, I would rather spend the 600 dollars on getting better glass (lens). To me, better quality lens is more important than some fancy features. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

      Personally, I’ve seen your talented photography skills. If you are able to make beautiful photos right now with the lesser quality camera. I think you can shoot gorgeous photos with any camera. I’ve seen work that was shot with top of the line cameras with less than impressive results. In the end, it’s your skills as a photographer that will make the difference.

      Here are the links to a couple of fellow d90 photographers with amazing shots.
      http://burstmode.wordpress.com/
      http://iminuru.wordpress.com/

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