A while back, a couple of us were talking about cameras and photography and taking better pictures. I remarked that I really needed to pay better attention to the lighting around me. I really hated seeing yellow tint to my photos. (And believe you me, I get yellow tint from the yellow paint on my walls!) It really is a simple fix. My friends commented that maybe a primer on basic camera operations would be helpful. So here we are with the first of a few, not many, camera tips.
I have a few cameras but the one that I will demonstrate is for the small point and shoot that most people have. I prefer Canon cameras but we’ve owned Nikons and Minoltas through the years, back when we dealt with FILM. OMG…so glad I don’t do that anymore!
The first thing you need is your camera with a full battery and the camera’s operation guide. Do not be afraid of the little book. It is your friend. Find it and dust it off. You will learn to love this little book. Don’t try to do this just by pushing buttons hoping against hope that you’ll find what we’re talking about.
You’ll need to turn your camera off automatic and put it in manual mode. Oh yes, you can do this. It isn’t scary at all! On this camera I need to press the Func/Set button to access Manual operations. Once you’re in manual mode, you’ll notice that more options open up to you now including white balance.
Go the page in the guide that is marked White Balance. This is the handy dandy starting point of taking photos with crisp, clear, bright colors without any tint. Once there, take a look at what they’re talking about: different light on your subject. This is where you determine one of the ways of how your camera will shoot the photo.
AWB means that the camera is on automatic white balance. You’re letting the camera decide how the light is and is usually always left there. But if you’re taking photos and you notice that a yellow or even blue tinge is showing up, turn off the AWB and select one of the following settings: day light, cloudy (one of THE best lighting situations you’ll have), tungsten (light bulb), fluorescent and mine has fluorescent II. There is one last setting for color balance and that is a custom ‘white’ that you create. I won’t get into that one on this post as it can get trickier.
[Have you ever been somewhere and the local tv news camera guys show up? You'll notice that someone will hold up a piece of white paper in front of the lens and the photog films it? He is setting the custom white color balance for the lighting in that setting. ]
Let me show you how different settings affect your photo. Please excuse the subject matter as I didn’t want to do the whole taking a picture of myself in the mirror and hoping it turns out ok….
This is with day light:
This is with Cloudy
This is with Tungsten or light bulb
This one is Fluorescent 1
and this last one is with Fluorescent II
When scrolling through these you can see why I fight the yellow tint with my yellow walls! And I prefer using, for this late afternoon shot inside, the tungsten color balance. It inserts more blue to offset the yellow to make for a more pleasing shot.
Play around with the color balance on your camera. Get used to taking it off automatic mode. There’s a party waiting for you with your camera!
Oh, and keep that Users Guide handy…..