How Auto White Balance Mess up with Your Product Photographs

We spend too much time on leaning how different camera setting behaves in different way to achieve best results in our photographs. Usually we are asked to keep the white balance to Auto so things doesn’t get too technical for newbies and semi professional photographer however it is very important to learn how Auto white balance mess with your photos. I am not talking about the recreational photos or landscapes, I am talking particularly about product photography because color matter a lot when it comes to photographing a product. You don’t want your blue necklace to look green in the picture or else the customer will be returning the product later.

In simple words, white balance controls the color temperature of the photo. It can give blueish results that are called cooler or yellowish results that are called warmers results. If you are not sure about the white balance you can set it to AWB (Auto), however before starting to take photographs, you must make sure that your are shooting in RAW picture format. RAW format gives you complete liberty to edit the white balance later in Photoshop. Now I will discuss how different white balances will behave in different manner and how to select a custom color temperature on your camera.

White doing product photography if you have set your white balance to AWB (Auto), your two photos of the same product can look completely different. You can see in below mentioned picture, I have taken 2 shots of same clothing with everything exactly the same including the white balance on “Auto” setting. You can easily see how Auto white balance has messed up with the colors of the dress. Left one is cooler and right one has warmer colors. The color of the dress has changed drastically in both pictures, to mention that the actual dress color looked completely different than the two pictures below, it was something in between. Now imagine you end up taking hundreds of pictures of different products and later on you forgot  how the colors exactly were when you were shooting pictures? So its important to set it right so you don’t have to worry about it later.

how two pictures looks different with auto white balance

Same setup – White Balance Auto

You can setup a white balance to a desired color temperature. In most Canon DSLR cameras, you need to press menu button to change the settings. Please find below the photos explaining how you can set your white balance manually on your DSLR.

white balance settings in canon DSLR cameras

Menu – Press White Balance

When you press white balance, it will show you different settings, Auto white balance, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent light, flash, custom and color temperature. Select the last color temperature setting and with your dial set it to the desired temperature according to the environment. For my clothing shoot above, I have selected 5200 as standard color temperature for all dresses.

Setting up white balance with color temperature

Setting up white balance with color temperature

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