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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 7 of 51

Applying White Balance

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

7. Applying White Balance
Light has color -- and white balance is what keeps the colors in your images in check. Learn how color temperature differs by the different times of day and sources of light, then control how your camera sees those colors with the white balance setting.


Lesson Info

Applying White Balance

what happens to a piece of metal when you heat it up as well as getting hot, it also changes color. First of all, it goes red as in red hot. Then it goes orange, then yellow, then white is white hot. After that, it starts to melt. If you leave it in the fire. If you take it out and it starts to cool down, it does the same color change, but in reverse. Now what does this got to do with photography? Well, exactly the same thing happens to the color of light as the sun rises during the course of the day. So it's sunrise first thing in the morning. The light is very red. About an hour after sunrise, it goes an orange, which is that golden hour that we often talk about things like landscape photography, and it goes yellow sort of mid. Morning on by. Noon is gone to a very neutral white light. Now, as human beings, we don't see these changes in color temperature because our brain is fitted with a white balance control and the purpose of that white balance controlling the brain is to filter o...

ut all of the color casts created by the different times of the day. The different environments, even the different sources of light so that we see all light is neutral white light. Your camera, on the other hand, will pick up these color casts unless you do something about it and there is a control in the camera to help you do that. And that control is called the white balance Control. Do you remember these? These are color correction filters, which are commonly referred to his warming and calling filters. And orange warming filter absorbs blue light, and a blue calling filter absorbs red light. There used either neutralized color casts or, more creatively to add or enhance color casts. Now you can think of the white man. It's controlling your cameras, doing exactly the same thing just digitally. If you go to the white balance control, you'll find a set of icons on the exact number and type will depend on your camera, but they're a six. Common wants sunlight, which is sometimes called daylight, flash cloudy shade, fluorescent and tungsten, which is sometimes referred to his incandescent. And these icons represent preset white balance values that correspond to different environmental conditions. or sources of light in order to get rid of color casts or you have to do is juicy, appropriate icon for the conditions you're in on an overcast day. All of this cloud cover is absorbing red light waves, and that's going to create a blue color caste. Now, even though is daylight. If I was to photograph this scene on daylight white balance, I'm going to see that color cast in the photograph. But by switching to cloudy white balance and matching white buns with the environmental conditions, I can neutralize the color cast for much more natural looking image. And the same applies for all of the other white balance setting. So if my subject is in deep shade, if I switch to shade, I'll get a neutral image. If I'm using flash, if I switch to flash, I'll get a neutral looking image. The same applies to artificial light sources. Artificial light, such as those found in a photographic studio, have different color temperatures. Elektronik Flash, for example, is very soon with daylight, but a tungsten studio lamp would have a very red or orangey color caste on Justus White. Balance allows me to compensate for the different color temperatures caused by the weather. It also allows me to compensate for the different color temperatures of different light sources. So the number one reason for white balance is to get rid of unwanted color casts caused by environmental conditions or by different sources of light. No.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.

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mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!