Hey there everyone! Welcome to my last week as Flourish’s Limelight designer! This month has just seemed to fly by, and I have really appreciated reading all of your sweet comments. I hope that I have inspired you in some way, or given you some good information in terms of photography.
Today I decided to do a little lesson on white balance, because it is a really important part of photography. Before we get to that, I will share the card that I created. I used the beautiful Flourishes “Spring is Sprung” stamp set, which has these beautiful spring images and sentiments to match. The great thing about the images in this stamp set is that they can be both colored or not colored, and they stand alone wonderfully. This makes the stamp set versatile, no matter what kind of stamper that you are! Here is what I created:
Before I get into some information regarding white balance, let me give you just one easy tip. You don’t have to have a fancy paper distressing tool to achieve this look on your cards. I distressed these edges with a small piece of sandpaper, and the edge of my scissors- something that everyone has in their craft stash! So keep that in mind when you are looking at all of your tools!
Okay- now on to white balance. Every single camera has an AUTO white balance mode on it, and I assume that is probably what your camera is set to. AUTO white balance isn’t wrong, but it can’t factor in for all the different lighting that you might be shooting your projects in. I know that in my room I shoot with my overhead light, a lamp, and natural light from the window. My AUTO white balance over corrects for the warmth, leaving me with an image that feels way too cool, especially since I use cream quite often on my cards. So, I use a custom white balance in order to get the proper coloring of the cream, and proper warmth to the image. Here are two images taken straight from my camera with no editing done. On the left is AUTO, and on the right is custom.
The AUTO white balance isn’t bad, but if you notice…it is a little cool and has a blue color cast to it. Then notice the proper coloring on the card shot with a custom white balance, especially the cream parts. This one small adjustment made the image of the card you see above super easy to edit, because I didn’t have to worry about color correction at all. Just some level adjustment, and sharpening.
If you don’t shoot with a DSLR, you most likely won’t have a custom white balance option. So, my suggestion is to shoot an image of your project in your normal spot….and try all of the different white balance options that your camera does have. Load them onto your computer, and see which one looks closest to your actual card. It might be that the daylight white balance (usually symbolized by a sun graphic) or the cloudy white balance (symbolized by a cloud graphic) are the better options for photographing your card.
If you use a Canon DLSR, unfortunately I don’t know how to tell you to do a custom white balance. I would suggest doing a google search for it, or reading in your camera manual. If you use a Nikon DSLR, here is a little step by step on how I get my custom white balance. First, you will need to purchase a grey card, which you can typically find for $5-10. Look for one at your local photography store, or you can purchase one from an online photography store. I have linked one above for you, just so you know what they look like.
Creating a Custom White Balance on a Nikon DSLR:
- First set the proper exposure for your card, by using Aperture priority mode or by manually metering. (Please see THIS POST for tips on exposure.)
- Hold down the white balance button (which could be on the back of your camera, or on the top left dial), then use the thumb dial to scroll through all of the white balance options until you see the word PRE.
- Let go of the white balance button once you scroll to the proper setting, then hold it down again until you see the word PRE blinking.
- Put a grey card in front of your project, fill the entire shot up with grey and then take a photo.
- Your camera won’t actually take a photo, but the word GOOD should be flashing on your small top screen. If it isn’t, then you need to redo it. If it is, you have just created a custom white balance and can go about shooting the image of your project!! Yay!
The biggest reason that you might get NOGD flashing (which means no good) is that your exposure settings are incorrect, and it couldn’t read the grey card properly. This is very typical if your photograph is to dark, or underexposed. So adjust your camera settings and try again!
I hope that you have enjoyed my time as the Flourish’s Limelight designer! Let me know if you have any questions at all regarding white balance!