Virtual Photography Class: White Balance

There is a tiny little function on your camera that can make a HUGE difference in the overall look and color of your pictures. This function controls the white balance of your photos. White balance is typically set on the “auto” function (AWB). “Auto” doesn’t necessarily mean better. Like anything else, we often have to tell the computer in our camera how we want our pictures to look.

White balance refers to how your camera interprets colors. If it doesn’t interpret colors correctly, the hues in the rest of your photograph will be “off.”

White balance can be adjusted using the “WB” on most cameras, which you can see on the photograph above (I have a Canon Rebel and almost always use my 50mm lens).

Here is an example of how much white balance can affect a picture. The only setting that was changed in all six of these pictures was the white balance. And they came straight from my camera…no editing whatsoever.


Wow…big difference, huh? Typically, you’ll want to go with whichever white balance setting describes the lighting of your shoot…unless you’re trying to get a different kind of look for your photo. At which point you’ll just want to play around until you get what you want.

You can also customize your white balance by taking a photo of something white in your current lighting conditions and then manually changing your white balance settings. But that’s a little too technical for me, so we’ll just stick with what we’ve got. ;)

Disclaimer:  I’m not a photography expert. I’m a student and am still learning! There are so many people who are much more qualified to share photography tips with you…but the best way for me to learn is to teach someone else. So there you have it!


  1. Wow, amazing difference! I’ve heard that white balance is important, but seeing examples is so helpful. I am somewhat comfortable adjusting shutter speed and aperture, but I’ve never ventured to try anything but an auto white balance. I’m definitely going to try it out.

  2. Thank you for your help. I didn’t even know I had this feature on my little Sony Cybershot, but I now I know I do. Looks like I will be taking my kids fall pictures over again to get better color. ;o)

  3. This is awesome! I keep saying that I want to learn how to use my camera and this was perfect. I found the WB button on my camera…now I need to play around with it :) Thank you!

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