It’s true that you can set the white balance to whatever you like when processing RAW files, but there are still advantages to choosing the setting you want – or you think you will want – on the camera when you shoot.
White balance is a color adjustment made in software to correct any color shift in the ambient light to make it neutral – to 'balance' the light so that it's a pure, neutral white.
White balance is one of those camera controls that's easy to take for granted but it can be quite important. If you photograph weddings, for example, you need to make sure that white wedding dresses, veils and cakes are actually reproduced as white.
If you shoot JPEGs, getting the white balance right is especially important, because while you can change the colour rendition later, your window for adjustment is much smaller.
Shooting RAW files, however, gives you full control, since you can choose any white balance setting you like – the RAW file preserves all the colour information captured by the camera.
Even here, though, there are a couple of things to be aware of. Your software's 'As Shot' setting is the only one which will accurately portray the camera's own rendition – other white balance presets in the software may not give you the same results that the camera's presets would give you. Adobe's white balance presets, for example, always look very warm to me.
One of the chief advantages of shooting RAW, though, is that you can quickly standardised the white balance setting across a whole series of images – this is what non-destructive editing and cataloguing tools like Lightroom and Capture One Pro do especially well.
10 myths about RAW files – and why they’re wrong
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RAW files explained
Many photographers prefer to work with RAW files – but what are they, how do you work with them, and why are they so much better than regular in-camera JPEGs?
Icelandic sea stacks in Capture One
The radial filter tool in Capture One, Lightroom and other image editors is great for ‘relighting’ scenes to add drama and depth.
DxO PhotoLab vs Lightroom vs Capture One – which is best for RAW files?
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12 ways to control and use white balance more effectively
White balance sounds a pretty simple image adjustment, but there’s a little more to it than meets the eye. Here are 12 white balance tips that might help you get the results you want and explain what’s gone wrong if you don’t.
White balance and how it works
White balance is an adjustment to correct and neutralise colors captured with different light sources. The color of light can vary considerably depending on the time of day and whether you’re shooting in natural light or under artificial light.
Lightroom CC White balance tools explained
White balance is one of the central image adjustments in any photo editing workflow. Here’s how the white balance tools in Lightroom CC work. 1 Edit button Click this to open the Edit tools sidebar. This is where most of Lightroom CC’s editing tools are found. 2 Color panel The Lightroom Edit panels expand and […]
How to carry out white balance and color adjustments in Exposure X
White balance and color corrections are basic image adjustments you’d expect to find in any photo-editing application, so let’s see how they are applied in Exposure X. We’ll use this interior shot of a boutique hotel as an example because it has some very serious color issues caused my the mixed lighting. The strong blue/purple […]
3 RAW converters, 3 different white balance settings!
You’d expect different RAW converters to agree about white balance, wouldn’t you? Then you’re going to be surprised by this test.