Wow, did I mess up the white balance on the image above. I am almost ashamed to put this image into this post but I thought someone might learn from my mistakes.
A few things about my white balance settings before I go on to explain the tungsten blue mess I created above.
For the most part I use Auto White Balance for my white balance mode on my Nikon D200 (OK, almost always)
I find that using auto white balance most often gives me the color tones I saw when creating the image
I do on occasion change my white balance (on purpose) if I feel I need to due to lighting condtions.
But I do screw up on occasion. On the day I took the White Ibis image above the action had been hot and heavy earlier in the morning and I am not sure when it happened but some how when I was changing settings for my ISO I must have fumbled with my fingers and also changed the white balance from auto to “tungsten”. I’m usually fairly confident about my exposures so I wasn’t looking at the LCD when the image previews came up on the screen. I was paying attention to my shutter speed and aperture while looking through the viewfinder but wasn’t looking at the control panel on the top of my D200 or I might have noticed that I wasn’t using auto white balance.
Live and learn though. I drove home, uploaded my images to my computer and began to preview them for culling. When I came across the first image after the white balance change I wondered what the heck had happened!
All I can say at this point is that I am very glad I shoot all of my images from my DSLRs in RAW format because I was easily able to get the white balance to where it needed to be to so that the image looked like the scene I saw through my viewfinder in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw).
Screen shot of ACR white balance adjustment tool
In ACR’s first screen on the right hand side there is a drop down next to “White Balance” where you can select different white balances. For my ibis image I selected “Daylight” because that gave me the look of the frame I remember seeing through my view finder. Additionally you can use the “Tempertaure” slider, going left towards darker blue adds cooler temps, going right in the yellows adds warmer tones.
Yes, I messed up the white balance on my Ibis image but ACR helped me to correct it and I didn’t have to delete the file.
The image above more accurately represents the color of the ibis and the sky on the day I created this photo. The whites don’t have a unnatural blue cast and the sky is no longer a garish, unbelievable blue. The whole image has been improved by simply and easily adjusting the white balance.
After my experience with screwing my white balance up that day I had to make a note to myself to remember to check my white balance setting on the camera. And I don’t feel nearly as silly for messing it up in the first place.
PS: I edit all of my images in Photoshop I don’t know how to correct white balance in Lightroom or any other photo editing programs.