Sometimes you can have mixed-lighting scenes and not be sure which preset white balance option to choose. Aha! There’s a good solution. You can set a custom white balance that will work for the exact, specific light or combination of light types in your setting. Here’s how:
- Get a piece of white paper or you can elect to buy cards from camera shops that are made for just this specific purpose.
- Set the camera to the exposure mode you use the most. (I use Av but you could also choose P, Tv, M, A-DEP exposure mode.)
- Set the white balance setting to any setting except Custom.
- Get in the light where you will be shooting.
- Set the camera to Manual Focusing. Manual Focusing is found on a switch on the side of the lens. You will see AF/MF. Select MF.
- Make sure you frame the shot so that your white paper fills the center area of the view finder. The center auto focus pont and the six surrounding points need to fall over the white paper.
- Press the Menu button. Turn the Main dial to select the Shooting 2 (red) menu.
- Press the up and down cross keys to highlight Custom White Balance, and then press the SET button. You should see the image of the white paper with a Custom White Balance icon in the upper left corner. If you do not see the image of the white paper keep pressing the left key until you do.
- Press the SET button again. A screen will appear asking if you want to use the white balance data from this image of the custom white balance. Press the right arrow to highlight OK, and then press the SET button. A second screen appears. Press the SET button to select OK. Press the Shutter button to eliminate the menu. The camera imports the white balance data from the selected image.
- Press the WB button on the back of the camera, and then press the arrows to select Custom White Balance. The White balance screen appears. The Custom White Balance setting is identified with text and is labeled by an icon with two triangles on their sides with a black dot between them.
- Press the SET button.
AGAIN, this is worth a repeat – you do have to remember to change the white balance when the light changes.
Learning about white balance has definitely helped improve my photographs. My shots are less blue and the overall casts are less cold looking. One technique I discovered lets you preview different white balance settings using Live View. Here are the steps:
- Press the Live View Button.
- Press the SET button. You will see a small menu that appears on the left side of the screen.
- Use the up and down arrows to choose the white balance menu item.
- Turn the Main dial to navigate through the different white balance settings.
The display on the T1i may not be totally color accurate, but it will let you note the differences between the white balance settings.
One thing you do have to remember though is to change the white balance when the light changes. It is really hard to correct a bad whilte balance later in a software image editing program so try to get the white balance correct from the start.
I’ve been learning a lot about white balance and trying different things out. More practice is needed on these last two posts but I have other things yet to try. I’ll be back in a bit with more!
One last thing – even though there is so much to learn it is a lot of fun to learn and I’m OK with my slow pace now. I’m immersed in a web of information, terms and confusion still reigns but I’m weaving my way through it. I’m learning a lot by just taking in the shots other people are making on the Flickr: 2010/365 photo group. There are some amazing shots to view – hope to get there one day in the future!!
After re-reading and checking on the web and in other sources I believe correcting my white balance might be the answer to correcting the blue tint I am getting on my pictures. I have had the white balance setting on ‘”Custom”
White balancing neutralizes light so that whites are always white and it enables other colors to render correctly. These are the steps to follow to set the white balance:
- Choose one of the shooting modes in the Creative zone such as Av.
- Press the WB button located on the back of the computer. This will bring up the white balance menu. It is the top button on the Cross keys.
- Use the left/right Cross keys to choose the white balance for your shooting situation.
- Check the camera display to be sure that the proper white balance is selected.
There are six different types of light and a full Auto Balance and a full Manual white balance. The six types are Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Flash.
I’m off to experiment with these settings.
First, you have to select a shooting mode and the basic zone modes seem appealing as they do the settings for you. However, they override many other possible custom settings on the camera. These custom settings are what can make the difference from an OK picture to a great picture. Most of the advice seems to suggest beginners learn how to adjust the functions of the camera that will give the most control over our pictures. That means using the Creative Zone Modes. These modes give the most control over the camera settings. It makes you think about how you want your pictures to look and what effects you want to get with your pictures. So that’s where I first concentrated my efforts.
Now that being said, I find myself in a land of vocabulary that is new and overwhelming . Words like shutter priority, aperture, ISO, white balance, metering mode, exposure compensation, are whirling around in my head and just beginning to be a part of my new vocabulary. These new words are not yet second nature by any stretch.
I started by just jumping in and taking pictures. I figured I could learn by trial and error and getting lots of practice. First, I just went with the settings recommended for routine outdoor shooting given on one of the DVDs from the Magic Lantern Guides. I’ve been taking lots of pictures and while I am getting lots of practice many of my photos are blurry, out of focus, and not sharp. The color also seems lacking. Many of them have a blue tint to them. I really don’t have an understanding about which functions cause this and what I need to do to correct it.
What is the best way to proceed now? I am really fascinated with this learning but need to think a bit about getting some order out of the chaos I’m feeling at the moment.
So back to the drawing board – I will overcome this maze of confusion!
I decided to start the new year by joining a Flickr group called 2010/365photos. Here’s a blurb from their description of the group:
This group was started for 2008/366photos, was used for 2009/365photos, and will likely be running for years to come.
A photo per day project for 2010 – 365 photos by the end of the year. No rules, except that you shoot one photo per day. Doesn’t matter of what, or with what.
The group started when a bunch of folks, mostly edubloggers, on Twitter decided to do the project in 2008. It grew like crazy in 2009. Who knows what 2010 will bring…
I’ve also started a new blog, Anne’s 2010/365 Photos, to display my 365 photos. This commitment is what I need and I think this project will be a lot of fun as well as give me plenty of opportunities to practice!
D’Arcy Norman pointed us to Jason Webber’s post Tips for ‘One Photo a Day’ project. He makes excellent suggestions. I laughed when I read one tip as I have already spent way too much time thinking about these first 3 pictures! So as I travel this journey I will keep tip #9 on my mind! I’m sure I will have more than one or two shots a month as cop-outs but I hope to stay the course!
9. Accept the odd ‘cop-out’ shot
This project is a marathon, not a sprint and even the most enthusiastic of us have our low, un-inspired days. On days like these, take a shot of anything and just live with it and certainly don’t beat yourself up for not keeping to your usual standard. At least one or two of my shots a month are cop-outs, but the point is that I haven’t missed a day!
Christmas day I tried out the camera once again and did a bit better. A little of the learning is beginning to click but the need to internalize is still there. Here’s one picture I took……
Okay, I did a little reading over the Christmas break, went out one day near dusk to try out the new camera and ended up with a whole set of blurred pictures. Hmmm, back to the reading table. It seems I forgot most everything I had read and reverted immediately back to my point and click mode. My granddaughter was with me and the need to snap quickly surfaced and no time was taken to apply my newly “read but not internalized skills”! Things I need to remember when taking pictures with the T1i:
- Press halfway down on the shutter button first when taking pictures. This lets the camera start making its calculations for taking the best shot. This is tricky and requires practice.
- Using a tripod really steadies the camera and apparently I have very shaky hands when holding the camera. This will also help me focus on the picture I am about to take. One book told me that using a tripod will help me take my time and learn to imagine that I am a highly skilled marksman with a limited amount of ammunition. Stop and think is the motto now!
- For those times without a tripod I need to learn the professional way to hold an SLR camera. My right hand steadies the camera and lets me manipulate the controls with my fingers and press the shutter button. My left hand cradles the camera and holds most of the weight while the camera itself rests against my forehead or eyebrow. This also requires practice.
- I don’t understand the basics of exposure and need to focus in and experiment here and learn about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
That’s enough for now, plenty more to learn but for now I’m headed back to the “photographing” board to refocus. Wish me luck!