Color has a big impact on the mood and success of any image.
Otherwise those warm skin tones you see with your eyes might turn out cold and blue-ish. Or overly orange and nasty while shooting indoors.
Let’s talk through 3 steps to getting things dialed in.
Step #1: Turn your camera from Auto to Program mode. If you have a DSLR, you likely have a dial on top of your camera with letters and symbols. Program mode is indicated with a “P” and is a lot like automatic, but you get to make a few customizations.
Step #2: Set your white balance. Look for a “WB” on your camera. Push that button. Then switch to the appropriate scenario:
- Auto (AWB icon): the camera chooses. Usually one of the below works better.
- Sunny (sun icon): “Choose this when your subject” is in direct sunlight.
- Cloudy (cloud icon): “ ” is in cloudy conditions.
- Shade (shade icon): “ ” is in the shade.
- Tungsten (light bulb icon): “ ” is inside with normal light bulbs on.
- Fluorescent (strip light icon): “ “ is inside fluorescent light bulbs on.
- Flash (lighting bolt icon): “ “ when you use your flash.
Here’s a shot I took of Kerbi in her bedroom. I was using only window light, but it was cloudy outside. And what do ya know: the cloudy WB definitely nails it better than any other.
Auto was too gray. Shady too yellow. However, if it had been sunny outside, shady would’ve worked better (as we would have been in the shade, just inside…I know, crazy right?).
Step #3: Light it well. You can have the white balance dialed in to the exact kelvin degree (another topic), but if your light source is too harsh or there’s simply not enough light volume, you’ll struggle to capture bright, vibrant, clean tones.
Lighting is a whole course in and of itself. For right now I’ll put it simply: Choose natural daylight, but stay in the shade.
This includes window light, especially when the windows are big, as was the case in the pic below. So here it is, in all of its cloudy WB glory: