Ever take a photo where the colors seem clinically cold, washed out or just plain bland? It's probably because the white balance was inaccurate. White balance simply refers to the overall color cast of a photograph. If the white balance is too "cool", your image will appear blue-ish. Too "warm" and everything will look like it was taken at sunset.
Android phones, since version 2.0, have offered built-in color balance options. This allows you to get the color cast that you want. On iOS devices, white balance settings are entirely automatic, but there are numerous third party camera apps that allow you to deviate from Apple's choice of a correct color balance in your pictures.
By default, even if it offers manual white balance settings, your camera will be set to Auto, where it analyzes the scene and chooses what it deems to be the most appropriate white balance parameters. If your camera has manual control, you can override this by choosing from a list of built-in presets. The screenshot above is from an HTC One X running Android's Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense 4.0. Note that various flavors of Android and manufacturer UIs will differ in appearance but will have similar functions.
If you're going for a realistic effect, start by selecting the preset whose name best describes your current lighting conditions and try taking a picture with that setting.
And you don't have to limit yourself to just producing a more realistic result. Get creative and try out presets that add a wildly different mood or feeling of your photograph. In the examples below, we photographed the same scene four times using the HTC One X, changing the white balance between shots. The differences are dramatic.
Whether your aim is a more accurate image or one that creates a striking mood, white balance presets can be a quick and easy way to get there.
Oct 29, 2015
Oct 29, 2015
Oct 28, 2015
Oct 27, 2015
- Canon EOS M58.8%
- Panasonic G85/G803.3%
- Panasonic FZ2500/FZ20001.9%
- Panasonic LX10/LX151.2%
- Panasonic GH5 development3.6%
- Sony a99 II15.9%
- Nikon KeyMission 170 and 801.0%
- Fujifilm GFX 50S development28.3%
- Olympus E-M1 II development18.7%
- Olympus E-PL80.1%
- Olympus 25mm F1.2 Pro1.5%
- Olympus 12-100mm F4 IS Pro1.9%
- Olympus 30mm F3.5 Macro0.1%
- Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art3.6%
- Sigma 12-24mm F4 Art2.6%
- Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM Sport2.4%
- YI M12.2%
- GoPro Hero50.8%
- GoPro Karma drone2.2%