I'll just set my white balance on auto and fix it later | Missouri portrait and landscape photographer

This post is meant for photographers who have a general understanding of white balance. Perhaps you set your camera to the picture of the sun (daylight) or the one with the side of the house (shade), depending on what type of environment you're in. But have you ever wondered what that "K" mode is? The K stands for Kelvin, and is a way to fine tune your white balance to get more accurate colors SOOC. Kelvin is a way to measure the color temperature of different types of light. For photography, I find that I may shoot anywhere from about 3500K for certain types of indoor lightbulbs or tungsten to 6500 or 7000 for an overcast sky or shade. Daylight is right around 5250/5000K, nearly in the middle. Numbers, numbers, numbers, so much to remember! Hear me out.

Can't I just put it on auto WB? Yes, you can. And sometimes that is easier. But I promise, if you play with the K mode, it becomes SO. MUCH. EASIER. You spend less time in lightroom or photoshop because your colors come out closer to how you want them. Auto white balance may change from one shot to the next, which can make for headaches trying to get everything to match.

I could have chosen a better example using a portrait, but when I was shooting this sunset the other night I thought it would be a good example to show how this mode can be used. I made the exact same minor post processing changes to all 3 of these images (including contrast and a smidge of exposure among a few other things) but you can see that choosing a different Kelvin number can produce different feels for these sunset landscape pictures right off the bat.

Sunset white balance comparison kelvin

The lower the Kelvin number, the cooler (more blue) your picture will be. The higher the number, the warmer (more yellow) your picture will be. One way to see if the white balance is acting how you want it to is to turn on live mode on your camera and adjust while you're viewing the scene you are shooting. 

Ultimately, I was very happy that the lower number gave me the result I wanted with very little time spent post processing. I really wanted to bring out the blue color to balance out the fire orange from the sunset. I invite you to play around with this mode on your camera this week and feel free to share your results on our facebook page!

White balance sunset comparison