It’s time for another edition of our monthly series “Ask a CMpro” her on the CM photography blog in which we give our CMpros one question and they dish. Their answers alone are always inspiring and this week we asked them, “What method do you use for setting your white balance in camera and why does that method work for you?”
*image by Lora Swinson
Beth Orey, Texas
I use Kelvin for my white balance. I always prefer warmer images and can usually just set the Kelvin I prefer in whatever particular situation (I go case by case) and then forget about it. The main reason I don’t use other methods is because I know I’ll forget to use them! I go for as simple as possible.
Laurie Yuenger, Illinois
A lot of people are shocked when I say auto but honestly, 99% of the time, my D700 does fantastic with getting it right on, or really close. I can tell via the LCD (I’m a chimper!) if the white balance is off, and in that case I will use one of the preset settings, or by setting my camera to the WB of the white/grey card or someones white shirt etc. The reason I mainly use auto is because if I’m outdoors the lighting can chance fast with little ones; I don’t want to stop the flow of the session every time we move to re-establish the white balance when I’d rather focus on manual exposure settings, posing, engaging the subjects and auto does such a great job in my camera anyways!
Michelle DeMoss, California
I always shoot in Kelvin. For me, it’s quick, easy, and I don’t have to carry any extra equipment. I also like that I RARELY have to fix skin tones in Photoshop if I’ve nailed Kelvin.
Lacey Meyers, Oregon
Most often I set a custom white balance. I’ll set if off of my Lastolite Collapsible Grey Card, a grey t-shirt one of my kids are wearing, or even a white wall. I’ll also usually take a photo with my WhiBal card in it so that I can double check my color very easily in Lightroom. This is also helpful if I didn’t have a chance to set a custom white balance in the first place. Kelvin comes in mighty handy though when I have nothing to set a CWB off of!
Amber Scruggs, Virginia
In studio I set my white balance to Kelvin 5600 because that is what is calibrated to my Einstein strobe. Color comes out perfect and that makes photographing newborns so much easier! Outside, I use the Photovision Target to set my custom white balance, it tends to set things on the warmer side of things but I much prefer warmer images over cool.
Justine Knight, New York
The amazing Lisa Harrison introduced me to Kelvin for white balance in her Natural Light 101 workshop and I have never looked back! Over time, I have developed a pretty good feel for what kelvin is required for certain lighting conditions.
Courtney Keim, New Jersey
I used to use auto wb but since I was introduced to the ExpoDisc, I use it exclusively. The color is almost spot on and it only takes a few seconds to take the shot and change my custom wb. I feel like when I was in auto wb my colors were always so cool but since incorporating this into my shooting workflow, my images are so warm and perfect, in my opinion.
Mandy Haber, Alabama
I started using Kelvin to set white balance about a year and a half ago and never looked back. I get much more consistent results than I ever did using auto or the presets!
Marissa Gifford, Washington
I used to rely on Kelvin for white balance, but since I switched to using an ExpoDisc a few months ago my SOOC color has been so much better. It’s super reliable and makes editing much easier.
Caroline Jensen, Minnesota
I am an ExpoDisc girl all the way! I have the neutral disc and have used it for almost two years. If I forget it then I use Kelvin. I have been very happy with those results as well.
Leslie Densford, North Carolina
I set my white balance using Kelvin temperatures. Normally I start out at 6000K+ when shooting outdoors and as low as 2860K in low light/indoor conditions. I still have to tweak it a bit in post processing. I hear whispers that Santa may bring me an ExpoDisc and I am really excited about that!
Haley Lorraine, Vancouver
I have just started using the ExpoDisc and LOVE it! Super easy to use and it has resulted in a much better image SOOC and a faster edit time for me.
Tracy Bradbury, United Kingdom
I started using Kelvin after seeing a tutorial on it here and have been using it ever since. My photos seem to come out quite well and sometimes just need a small tweak when opening them up in ACR. I keep hearing great things about the ExpoDisc and am very tempted to get one.
Jennifer Dell, Texas
I think I have tried everything in the quest for perfect white balance! That said, I continue to use Kelvin as it’s quick and easy to set up especially if my light is changing quickly while shooting busy children and families.
Megan Dill, New York
Kelvin is my tried-and-true method. I choose an initial setting based on the time of day and the type of light, then chimp until the white balance appears correct on my LCD. Getting it right in camera is paramount to my sanity when it comes to post processing.
Carly Bingham, California
For portraits I use custom white balance with my ExpoDisc. Now, when I have sessions with young children? Setting Custom White Balance flies out the window. Who has time for that? So I mostly use Kelvin. It is so easy, so simple and you don’t have to carry any extra equipment. Love Kelvin!!
Dana Tate, Missouri
I use and completely trust my ExpoDisc. It works for me because it is quick, easy and accurate. It takes 3 seconds and saves me lots of time in post. I honestly wouldn’t want to shoot without it.
Rebecca Spencer, United Kingdom
With the speed the weather and light changes here in the UK I am a fan of using auto white balance on my D700 when I am shooting outside. Auto wb works great most of the time and is an easy fix in Lightroom on the few occasions it needs a slight tweak.
Parikha Mehta, Pennsylvania
I usually use Kelvin. I love what my ExpoDisc can do, but, with wriggly little ones, I usually can’t grab it fast enough without missing the moment.
Krista Campbell, Arkansas
I have used both custom white balance using a grey card and also shooting in Kelvin in camera. I’ve found that shooting in AWB is the easiest for me! I always shoot in RAW and then I open every image in Adobe Camera Raw. I adjust the temperature as needed and find that most of my images need to be warmed up slightly. I do this by moving my temperature slider to the right and most of the time my temperature is usually between 4800-5100.
Elena Blair, Washington
I use Kelvin WB. I always start at 5500 and go up from there. My camera seems to be a bit on the cool side so I usually have to warm up in post, but I do that in batches of images with the same lighting. I find it so easy to fix in ACR that I have never gone with custom WB. Kelvin keeps it simple and consistent, in my opinion.
Thanks to our CMpros for sharing with us! Have a question of your own for our CMpros? Make sure to check out our “Ask the Pros” section of the CM photography forum!
Winner Update – Congratulations to Carey who said, “I use auto and try to correct levels in LR and/or photoshop later. I’d love an expo disc to make my life easier.” I will contact you shortly about claiming your new ExpoDisc!
Thank you to today’s sponsor, ExpoImaging, the maker of the beloved ExpoDisc! Today, they are giving away a 77mm ExpoDisc NEUTRAL to one random reader. In order to enter, just share this post with your friends on facebook, twitter and/or pinterest and then come back here and tell us where you shared it at and how you currently set your white balance. We’ll randomly draw a winner next Tuesday, December 4, 2012 and announce it here so make sure and come back to check in!
Do you need an ExpoDisc now? They are generously offering a discount for everyone! Use the code EDmom2012 (case sensitive) to receive a 20% discount off an ExpoDisc (Excludes Bundles. Cannot be combined with other discounts.) Hurry though because the discount expires December 15th, 2012.