White balance allows you to see the white color as white. Figuring it out will help you stand out.
What does this mean… Have you ever noticed how one photo looks just a little better than another and can’t figure out why the color is slightly off? Indoor photos may be more yellow or blue than you want. That is what I’m talking about. It may not be noticeable at first, but once you see it, you will see it all over.
If you want to adventure out of automatic, then you may have to do some test shots to get a color you like. Just adjust one or just a few settings up or down to get it to what you think is right. Even point-n-shoots will have a setting for this. Don’t be scared, just remember that it is ok to make adjustments. 5000k is a good middle setting if you need to go back to a reference point. Many times you may just go down or up just a few setting from there.
Concerts may be an example of when you may have to make an extreme adjustment. The lights may mean using something close to 2800k to get it to look like you want it. It may not be necessary to make adjustments if you want to match the lighting of the stage in the photograph. White balance is an option so you don’t get shots that turn out the way you want it to. There is no right or wrong setting, just one that you like.
As a technical reference a camera can range from 2500k to 10000k. Those are just the spectrum frequencies of light. on a camera 25000k will give a blue look, 10000k will be more of yellow or orange look. This should get you started to make those settings to compensate. Pay attention to the lighting and adjust accordingly.
After some practice, you will be seeing white snow and people in a whole new light. And yes, you should go back and read the manual.
For those working with RAW(a file extension that doesn’t compress the image like jpeg does), well, you can change it later even if you don’t get it right. So, why make the adjustment instead of using automatic? It may save some time later. Automatic may still go up and down in the settings depending on the subjects like people’s clothes, grass, snow, or even wall color being reflected. And you will end up adjusting everyone of those photos.
Have fun getting those crisp clean photographs you would be proud of…