Using Manual or Custom White Balance

There will come a time when none of your camera’s preset white balance settings will work and that’s when you need to use the Manual option. Sure, it’s a little more labor intensive but after you try it once, you’ll be amazed how well it works under difficult and mixed lighting conditions such as indoor exhibits, conventions centers, and museums. Start by photographing a sheet of white paper under the lighting conditions you want to correct.

Kodak Gey CardTip: Did you know that the flip side of the Kodak Gray card is white? That’s my favorite tool for setting Manual white balance and it’s easy to stick an 8×10 card in my camera bag. If your camera case is small, cut the card in half.

You might shift your focus setting to Manual as well since focusing on a blank white paper might confuse your camera’s AF settings. If your test image is extremely over or underexposed, proper white balance may not be achieved. If that happens, adjust the exposure accordingly and start over again. Select Custom WB or Manual that typically displays the images stored on the memory card. On many Canon models you then press the WB button but you have to read your User’s Guide to see how it works for your specific camera. It’s just a matter of making a photograph under the lighting conditions your working and pulling a few menus and pressing a button. No matter what kind of camera you use, it’s that easy.

There are some alternative to this method: ExpoImaging’s ExpoDisc is a custom white balance filter that lets you easily set a custom white balance without having to carry, hold, position, or  gray cards, white cards or targets. Using your camera’s built-in custom white balance capability, ExpoDisc turns your camera into an incident color-metering tool enabling it to receive, scramble, and transmit light from the front of the disc through to the camera’s image sensor. ExpoDiscSimply place the ExpoDisc in front of your lens and capture the incident light while setting your camera’s custom white balance. ExpoDisc consists of multiple layers of matched optical grade materials and is  calibrated to strict tolerances of light transmission and color neutrality. Each ExpoDisc is guaranteed for neutrality (+/- 2%) for picky shooters. ExpoDisc Digital White Balance Filters are available in six standard sizes: 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm, and in flat versions for modular filter systems.

Author: Joe Farace

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