White balance: Photoshop vs Kelvin settings

Started Jun 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: White balance: Photoshop vs Kelvin settings

Jarvis393 wrote:


I want to make sure I got this right.

You said: As far as future shooting goes, there is a discipline you should follow to cancel out the variations in the colour of the light illuminating your subject. It is called Custom White Balancing.. read how to do it in your camera Manual.... and buy grey/white card to use when doing it.

Does this mean that if I a grey/white card to set up Custom White Balance the color will be consistent from one day of shooting to the next in a side by side comparison?

Custom WB cancels any colour bias in the light it is performed under, thus rendering a neutral result unaffected by the colour of the light. So, if tomorrow's light is exactly the same in colour as today's, then today's WB will be fine to use tomorrow... no need to do another....

.... however, since Custom WB only takes a few seconds to perform, there isn't much excuse not to do it, even if you are pretty sure you don't really need to.

In other words we perform a Custom White Balance to establish a neutral setting, and perform another one every time the colour of the light changes to ensure that it stays nuetral.... and we also do it any time we think it might have changed.

Are there any exceptions to this rule?
Yes, there are.

We do not neutralise the colour of the light if what we want to record is the light colour instead of something illuminated by it.... a case in point would be a sunset, where the distinctly non-neutral colour is the whole point.

[To photograph a sunset, use the standard "Daylight" preset balance. This allows the difference between daylight and sunset light to show.]

Or does this just help with establishing white balance for the particular shoot I am on?

I think you are now in a position to answer that for yourself.


  • If in doubt, and whenever colour accuracy is critical, perform Custom WB to the light in use.

  • If NOT in doubt, still perform Custom WB.... (it is never a bad idea) (except for sunsets)!!

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"Ahh... But the thing is, they were not just ORDINARY time travellers!"

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