Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

White Balance

Posted by larrylohrman on March 23, 2006


White balance in a digital image is a feature in digital cameras that determines how the color of a digital image looks. The image above is an image I shot several years ago with a CooPix-995 in a basement room with no windows lit only with incandescent bulbs. The shot I took immediately before this one was a room with plenty of windows and I didn’t remember to change the white balance setting on the camera as I moved into this room.

There are two ways to prevent this kind of image. If you are shooting with a camera that doesn’t record RAW images (this is the case for most but not all compact digital cameras) you have to change the white balance setting on the camera when you notice a room like this with no natural light. Or, if you are shooting with a camera that does record raw images you can ignore the white balance problem when shooting and just adjust the white balance that looks best when you open the image the first time in your photo editor.

I use the later method because my Canon DSLR records in RAW mode. I found this ability to set the white balance when you first open the file to be one of the greatest features of switching from a digital compact camera to a DSLR. Shooting in RAW mode frees you from worrying about white balance completely and allows you to a continuous range of white balance settings instead of just 3 or 4 like the typical compact digital camera.

Of course when you make a mistake in white balance like I did in the image above you can always adjust the white balance in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. But it can be a struggle to make after the fact major color shifts.

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