CLARIFICATION OF THE NEED FOR WHITE BALANCE

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COLOR TEMPWhite Balance on a Camera!  What is the big Deal?

 

lighted bulb

 

A LOT OF THE CAMERAS WE HAVE TODAY ARE AMAZING.  THEY HAVE THE AUTOMATIC WHITE BALANCE CONTROL IN THEM AND THEY AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THE COLORS IN OUR PHOTOS COME OUT PERFECT IN COLOR.  OR DO THEY?  I RECENTLY RECEIVED A PHOTO OF MY SON AND HIS WIFE AND STEPSON TAKEN INSIDE OF A BIG BUILDING, AND THOUGHT HOW NICE.  THEN I PUT THE PHOTO NEXT TO THE OTHER PHOTOS OF MY FAMILY ON THE WALL AND NOTICED THE STRANGE COLOR OF THE PHOTO AND REALIZED THAT THE CAMERA HAD A PROBLEM WITH NOT DOING A VERY GOOD JOB OF CORRECTING THE COLOR OF THE LIGHTING IN THE ROOM.  BUT, MOSTLY WE ACCEPTED IT AS OK.  UNTIL YOU PUT IN WITH THE REST OF OTHER PHOTOS AND REALIZE THERE IS A PROBLEM.

I WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT EVEN THE NEW DIGITAL CAMERAS, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE AUTOMATIC WHITE BALANCE CONTROLS, MAY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH GIVING YOU PERFECT COLORS WITH “ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING”.  LET ME GO OVER WHAT I MEAN WITH “ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING”.

FIRST OF ALL, THE ONLY THING THAT IS A STANDARD IN THIS WORLD THAT IS A REFERENCE POINT FOR LIGHTING IS THE SUN:

SUN
OUR SUN

IF SOMEONE WAS TO SET UP A REFERENCE POINT AND PICK A PERFECT TIME OF DAY FOR THE SUN TO GIVE OUT A PERFECT COLOR OF LIGHT IT WOULD ALSO BE:

12:00 NOON OR VERTICAL SUN

SO, THIS GETS REALLY TECHNICAL, EVEN WITH THE SUN.  BUT, YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID THAT THE SUN PUTS OUT A CERTAIN WARM GLOW AT CERTAIN TIMES OF DAY, AND PHOTOGRAPHERS CALL IT THE GOLDEN HOURS.  AND THAT IS USUALLY ONE HOUR AFTER THE SUN RISES, AND ONE HOUR BEFORE IT SETS.  SO, WE KNOW THAT EVEN THE SUN PUTS OUT DIFFERENT COLORS AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE DAY.  HERE IS A PHOTO I TOOK, JUST BEFORE THE SUN WENT DOWN THAT CHANGED THE COLOR OF THE BUILDING FROM A GRAY COLOR TO A BEAUTIFUL GOLDEN COLOR:

SL Temple golden hour
Photo taken by Lanny Cottrell – Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah

PHOTOGRAPHERS LIKE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COLOR OF THE SUN.  THEY KNOW IF THEY WANT THE WARM COLORS WHEN TO GO OUT AND TAKE PICTURES.  BUT, THE BIGGEST PROBLEM THEN BECOMES KNOWING HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING.

THERE WAS A MAN BY THE NAME OF MR. KELVIN WHO STUDIED AND MADE A RATING FOR THE DIFFERENT TEMPERATURE COLORS.  HERE IS THE BEST CHART I HAVE EVER FOUND AND HOPE YOU WILL STUDY THIS:

Temperature Source
1700 K Match flame, low pressure sodium lamps (LPS/SOX)
1850 K Candle flame, sunset/sunrise
2400 K Standard incandescent lamps
2550 K Soft white incandescent lamps
2700 K “Soft white” compact fluorescent and LED lamps
3000 K Warm white compact fluorescent and LED lamps
3200 K Studio lamps, photofloods, etc.
3350 K Studio “CP” light
5000 K Horizon daylight
5000 K Tubular fluorescent lamps or cool white / daylight
compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)
5500 – 6000 K Vertical daylight, electronic flash
6200 K Xenon short-arc lamp[3]
6500 K Daylight, overcast
6500 – 9500 K LCD or CRT screen
15,000 – 27,000 K Clear blue poleward sky
These temperatures are merely characteristic; there may be considerable variation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE THAT OUR REFERENCE POINT AGAIN IS 5500 K = TO VERTICAL DAYLIGHT, AND ISN’T IT INTERESTING THAT ELECTRONIC FLASH HAS BEEN SET FOR THAT COLOR AS WELL.

NOW, ANYTHING BELOW 5500K WILL BE A WARM COLOR, AND THE LOWER YOU GO ON THE SCALE THE WARMER IT GETS.  NOTICE HOW WARM THE CANDLE IS.

NOW, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT ONE OF OUR MOST COMMON LIGHT BULBS THAT WE HAVE:  THE INCANDESCENT, STANDARD SCREW IN LIGHT BULB.  IT IS RATED AROUND 3000 TO 3200K.  SO, AUTOMATICALLY, IF YOU HAD TAKEN A PHOTO WITH THAT, YOUR PHOTO WILL LOOK RATHER WARM.  TRY IT AND SEE.  GO OUTSIDE AT NOON, TAKE A PHOTO, THEN WALK INSIDE, TURN ON THE LIGHT GLOBE AND SEE THE DIFFERENCE.

incandescant bulb

JUST LOOKING AT THE FILAMENT OF THE BULB, YOU CAN TELL THAT IT IS SOMEWHAT ORANGE OR WARM IN COLOR.

THE NEW TYPE OF FLUORESCENT LAMPS ARE CLOSE TO THE SAME COLOR AS WELL, IF YOU LOOK AT THE CHART ABOVE.

FLOURESCENT BULB

IF YOU PURCHASE LAMPS FOR YOUR HOME, AND WANT MORE TRUE TO LIFE COLOR, PURCHASE LAMPS THAT ARE “DAYLIGHT” BALANCED BULBS.  I WAS BOTHERED WITH ALL THE BULBS IN MY HOME TURNING EVERYTHING IN THE HOME TO THIS STRANGE ORANGE COLOR, SO, MY HOME IS TOTALLY FILLED WITH “DAYLIGHT’ BALANCED BULBS NOW.  THEY ARE RATED AT 5000K WHICH IS REAL CLOSE TO NATURAL DAYLIGHT.  TO ME, WHEN I TAKE PHOTOS INSIDE THE HOME WITH MY CAMERA, THE  PHOTOS LOOK MORE NATURAL, PLUS, I LIKE MY WHITE WALLS IN MY ROOMS TO LOOK MORE WHITE.

AND ON THE OTHER END OF THE SCALE IF YOU GO HIGHER IN NUMBERS, ABOVE THE 5500K, YOU WILL NOTICE THE COLORS GET MORE BLUE.  THE LAMPS THEY USE OUTSIDE IN YOUR STREET LAMPS OFTEN ARE THOSE ARC-TYPE LAMPS AND PUT OUT THAT STRANGE BLUE.  SOME ARENAS USE A MERCURY VAPOR LAMP AND PUT OUT THAT STRANGE COLOR AS WELL.  WHAT IS REALLY HARD TO DEAL WITH IS TO HAVE A BUILDING THAT USES A COMBINATION OF BOTH TYPES OF LIGHTING.  IN THAT CASE REFER TO YOUR CAMERA MANUAL ON HOW TO USE THE WHITE BALANCE SYSTEM TO GET CORRECT WHITE BALANCE WITH YOUR CAMERA.

BACK IN THE DAYS WITH FILM, YOU CORRECTED THE PROBLEM WITH COLOR CORRECTION FILTERS.

cc filter

IF YOU ARE A FILM USER STILL, THAT IS SOMETHING YOU WILL NEED TO STUDY AS WELL.  I WILL NOT BE COVERING THAT IN THIS SEGMENT.  BUT, I DO JUST WANT YOU TO BE AWARE THAT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE THAT ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING WILL THROW YOUR COLORS OFF IN MOST OF YOUR PICTURES YOU TAKE.  AND NOW YOU KNOW WHY.  REFER TO YOUR CAMERA MANUAL ON HOW YOU CAN COLOR CORRECT FOR THOSE COLOR PROBLEMS, AS EVERY CAMERA IS DIFFERENT.

img080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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