When automatic white balance doesn’t quite suit your needs, it’s time to take control with a white balance preset that better suits the conditions.
Different light sources have different colors – some look distinctly warm while others look cool or green. Our brains correct for this so efficiently, we often don’t notice these color casts – but they are there, and we can certainly see them in our photographs.
Fortunately, X Series digital cameras correct for color casts, too, using something called white balance. By applying some extra yellow or blue (known as color temperature), or green or magenta (known as color tint) pictures can be made to look like they were shot in completely neutral-looking daylight, whatever the actual conditions might have been.
By default, white balance is set to automatic, and this works really well for the vast majority of situations. But there are circumstances where you want more creative control over the color in your image – a sunset is a good example.
There aren’t many situations that confuse AWB, but when there’s a predominance of one color in the frame, the system can think this is due to lighting conditions and then try to compensate for it. An example is when photographing among green foliage – if the leaves on the trees look a little brown, it’s because the AWB has added too much magenta.
The solution to AWB creativity is to take control of white balance yourself, and the easiest way to do this is with a preset. Your FUJIFILM camera has a number of white balance presets that are designed to match specific lighting conditions. You can access them through your camera’s Q Menu or a shortcut button (the right-hand four-way selector or touchscreen swipe are programmed like this by default).
|Name||Type of Light|
|Auto (AWB)||Auto white balance|
|Daylight||Shooting in full sunshine|
|Cloudy||Shooting under cloudy skies|
|Shade||Shooting in the shade of a building, or indoors using only window light|
|Flash||Using built-in or external flash|
|Fluorescent||Light from fluorescent strips or halogen spot lights|
|Tungsten||Domestic electric lighting|
These presets are designed to be quite general. If you don’t feel they match the scene you’re photographing, you can fine-tune them.
- Access the White Balance menu with the shortcut button or touchscreen swipe (right, by default).
- Scroll down to the preset that most closely matches the conditions you’re shooting, then scroll right to access the fine-tuning adjustment.
- Moving up and down makes the chosen white balance more blue or more yellow (temperature).
- Moving left and right makes the chosen white balance more green or more magenta (tint).
- Press OK to set the new white balance.
RAW Files and White Balance Bracketing
In reality, you may not decide which white balance setting is ‘correct’ until you get home and look at your photographs on the screen of your computer. In fact, many people shoot RAW files so they can set white balance after shooting (this is one of the major advantages of working with RAW files – it’s easy to do in software like Adobe Photoshop).
Alternatively, why not try white balance bracketing to produce multiple files with different white balance settings?
- Select bracketing shooting mode, either with your camera’s mode dial or in its drive menu.
- Press MENU OK and scroll to the SHOOTING SETTING tab.
- Choose DRIVE SETTING > BKT SETTING.
- Select WHITE BALANCE BKT and choose an amount.
Each time the shutter is released, the camera takes one shot and processes it to create three copies: one at the current white balance setting, one with fine-tuning increased by the selected amount, and another with fine-tuning decreased by the selected amount.
Your Next Steps
- CHALLENGE Get out with your camera and find as many different types of light as you can – sunshine, sunset, fluorescent strips, and electric lamps. Use the white balance presets on your X Series camera to capture different pictures in each location – which do you like the best? Post your results to social media with the hashtag #MyFujifilmLegacy. You can also submit your work here for a chance to be featured on our social media channels.