White Balance – True Whites and Blacks

Shooting event photos can be challenging in mixed lighting conditions. Such is the case at the Dia De los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event at Tlaquepaque Arts Village in Sedona Arizona. There are halogen, fluorescent, tungsten and who knows what else everywhere. They all mix to create a lighting color environment at makes it hard to shoot with one catch all white balance set on the camera.

I manually set the K (kelvin temperature) of my white balance to 3200k. You would think that it would look a bright shade of blue. But not at this location! The shots still come out orange. This is why I aways shoot in RAW rather than JPG images to be stored on my memory card. I can adjust the white balance back home in Lightroom and Photoshop.

My goal is to make the whites white and the blacks black. I may leave in a bit of the warmth or even add it back in with filters while editing. In the case of the photo below, I chose let let it desaturate a bit and look more cold and ghoulish. The blacks and whites look correct. I still have colors in the hat and skirt/wrap.

I see so many images where white balance is off. Not just a bit, but way off. At some point it does become subjective. The choice of the artist. But I will challenge you to not just let the software pick the white balance, but learn all you can about it and do your best to true up the whites and blacks. Your colors will thank you for it.

Before and After image of Pash Galbavy, local mask and performing artist.



Pash Galbavy Artist Pash Galbavy Artist





Larry Pollock

I am an Artist who's medium is Digital Photography. I paint with Light. Product, event, portrait, landscape and fine art photography

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