I think what I love most about digital photography is the experimentation and freedom it allows. One quick little nugget that I’d like to share is playing with the white balance. Yes, that lovely feature that makes sure your whites are white and blues are blue is also a useful little tool when you want to add a bit of warmth to your images or change the “expression” of a photo by cooling it down. The warmth trick is simple; next time you’re taking a portrait, set your white balance to cloudy, notice anything different? You are now the master of warmth. Quick and easy–especially if you don’t have any warming gels handy.

Warm up your subject with cloudy white balance.
Warm up your subject with cloudy white balance.

The opposite end of that temperature chart is to cool down an image. Unlike cloudy white balance, which will work in almost any setting, cooling down your image is most effective in sunlight. The photo on the left of raindrops on glass was taken using auto white balance. But changing the setting to Tungsten cools down the image, giving it more character. tungsten

That’s it, just a short and simple trick. There are other options for combining warming gels with tungsten white balance when shooting portraits outdoors but that’s an article for another day. I just wanted to share this quick tip. Experiment and have fun.

Share this with other photographers

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for reminding us about utilising white balance more effectively – it’s too easy to leave it on “Auto” and then forget about it.

    I’ve only recently started shooting in RAW and am enjoying playing with white balance, particularly being able to see the different effects by simply toggling through the white balance settings. Definitely finding that “auto” can often be improved upon by selecting something else, or simply changing the color temp.

    By the way, I very much enjoy your site and the valuable information and interesting articles provided.

  2. Thanks Scotch, I’m glad you enjoyed the article and enjoy the site. I know a lot of work went into building Photocrati and we are all excited about it’s success. As for shooting in RAW – you should make it a habit to set it to RAW and leave it there.
    Thanks again, Fred

Leave a Reply

Close Menu