Steve Niedorf

How to Determine White Balance Settings for Different Light

Steve Niedorf
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Duration:   12  mins

White balance settings are always an issue given the variety of lighting conditions photographers face. In this video, professional photographer Steve Niedorf takes you through the entire process of white balance settings. His location is a white wall room with a balance of window daylight and artificial light that will affect his portrait of a woman. On most cameras, there is an auto white balance button that attempts to set the color temperature correctly. But Steve sets his camera white balance for tungsten light in order to achieve a blue effect. Although he can adjust white balance settings in post production, Steve prefers to experiment with what he sees through his camera. He captures several different images of his model Tasha, then moves into post production.

In Lightroom, Steve makes further adjustments to his white balance settings in his portrait of Tasha. Although the image has an abstract blue cast, Tasha’s skin is also blue. In the brush adjustment tools, he uses a color temperature brush preset to warm, and brushes away her blue skin and eye color. He then adds post crop vignetting in order to darken the photo edges. Result? A creative portrait made through white balance settings.

For the second portrait of his model, Steve trains a green artificial light on Tasha and tries to balance the green color with the window daylight. In post production, he has the problem of Tasha’s green skin, although the background is filled with natural light. First, he moves his white balance settings to magenta, which brings her skin into its natural tone. However, the background now has a magenta cast. By using a different light source in the foreground and then correcting it in Lightroom, Steve has made a creative color portrait of Tasha. Join pro Steve Niedorf in his studio as he shows you the intricacies of white balance settings.


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