Photography Tips: White Balance Indoors

If your indoor photographs have a discoloration, particularly around people and large objects, follow these photography tips to solve this problem. To understand why this discoloration happens and prevent it, read on to learn about the white balance. This will help you eliminate all discoloration from your indoor photographs.

Step 1 - Understanding the White Balance

The light sources that are used in photography are not all the same. Although the human eye easily edjusts to the changes in light, the camera lens is not so flexible, and responds to the changes in the natural light source. In order to understand how to use a white balance indoors, you must first understand that light source is measured in Kelvins (temperature), and that an inside scenario has a much lower quantity of Kelvins than even an overcast sky. Household lights typically emit much stronger red lights than the outdoors, which is mostly blue lights. The contrast between these lights is what causes your camera to give your photographs a red aura.

Step 2 - Controlling the White Balance Automatically

The majority of digital cameras come with a balance setting, which allows you to adjust your camera, so that it can adjust for greater amounts of red light, or adjust outside for larger levels of blue light. The camera may automatically use this balance setting, but this is not altogether a good thing, as sometimes it gets it wrong, leaving you with pictures that have the same old problem. A number of factors can cause the camera to have an 'accident' in the white balance, including flash photography from other cameras, setting the camera in bright light, or having placed the camera in an 'outdoor' setting, and then bringing it indoors. You can trust the automatic white balance setting on your camera, but should not give it complete control.

You may be able to flick switches on the side of your camera which will affect the amount of red or blue light a camera allows to pass into the picture. These switches are often called Tungsten or Fluorescent, although you should check the camera manual to make sure that you have the correct setting.

Step 3 - Other Ways to Control the White Balance

As well as adjusting the white balance, you can also control light through moving your subjects away from walls (as this can reflect the flash), and diffusing the light source. Try using white or blue paper between the light and the subject being photographed, as this can made a difference to the white balance as seen by the digital camera. Another way of altering the colors absorbed by your camera is to alter the shutter speed. Allow more natural light into the room, and under-expose the picture to give it a slightly darker shade. This will help to minimise any shades of red and yellow that are being cast by the indoor lights.

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