Using White Balance in Real Estate Photography

Using White Balance in Real Estate Photography

White balancing is something you have probably have heard about but either haven’t done or possibly do not completely understand. This is one thing that many photographers forget to do but can make a huge difference to the images you take. If you haven’t heard of it or haven’t done it you’ll want to learn this process and use it before you shoot the orders you receive through Stilio.*

What is white balancing?white balance for real estate photography

White balancing is the adjustment you make on your camera to ensure that you capture the colors during your shoot accurately. When you photograph something you may at times notice that the colors present in the image are not those that were part of the scene. Typically your images may have a blue, green, yellow, red or purple hue to them. This is because the light source used during the shoot gives off different temperature colors. If you are shooting where there are many incandescent lights or tungsten lights you will notice your images may have a yellowish hue, whereas, fluorescent lights will add a bluish hue to your images.

To the naked eye, these color hues are not generally noticeable because our eyes automatically adjust for these difference. To a digital camera, however, this is not the case. So while you can look at a white sheet of paper under tungsten or fluorescent lights it will still appear white but when taking a picture of this paper the camera will register the color temperature from the light source.

How can you adjust the white balance?

Turning to your camera’s user manual will help a great deal with adjusting the white balance since for each camera this is done a little differently. Most cameras, however, tend to have automatic or manual/semi-automatic options for adjusting the white balance. A few of the automatic white balance options include:

  • Auto- The auto settings will let the camera make the best attempt for white balancing a scene. Recommended by Stilio for most photographers.
  • Cloudy- This setting will warm the scene and is great to use outdoors on overcast or cloudy days.
  • Shade- This setting will also warm up a scene when you are not shooting in direct sunlight since shooting in the shaded area will often have a cooler hue.
  • Sunny- When shooting outdoors in the sun you will want to utilize this setting if your camera offers it. This setting typically sets the white balance to a neutral tone that is generally close to the setting you would get in auto mode.
  • Tungsten- This setting you will want to use for indoor shoots where there are incandescent lights or bulb lights. This option will cool down the scene you are shooting.
  • Fluorescent- Also ideal to use indoors, this option will warm up the scene to compensate for the cool hue fluorescent lights give off.

If you are shooting where there are multiple light sources it can be difficult to use the automatic preset your camera offers and you will want to adjust the white balance yourself. If you also just prefer to adjust the white balance yourself, for more accuracy, you will need to know where the manual adjustment setting is for white balance on your camera. Once you find it white balancing your shoots can be a simple task. White balancing your camera this way allow you to tell the camera what the colors should look like in a scene. There are a number of different ways you can adjust the white balance manually in your camera so it is best to see which you prefer to use. Here are some ways to manually adjust the white balance:

  • First, you will need a white or gray card or sheet of paper to serve as a reference point for the camera. They make cards specifically for white balancing purposes but it can often be more convenient just to use something white that you have on hand.
  • Then take an image of the what you are shooting in auto mode.
  • Then place your gray or white card in the scene try to fill the frame with as much of the card as possible. You should notice a difference in colors from one image to the next.
  • Select this image to set as your white balance. And shoot the scene again to ensure the camera is now reading the new white balance settings.
  • You should also be able to go into the setting of your camera and adjust the color manually. The way this is done will vary from camera to camera. Some camera will give you a color graph option that will allow you to move to a different color to compensate for the hue that the camera is picking up. Other cameras may offer adjustment in the Kelvin temperature.

Whether you white balance your camera using one of the presets or by doing it manually it is one step you will not want to forget to take before you begin your shoot. Otherwise, you will spend a good amount of time in the editing process to color balance your images. Note that if you are going to use Stilio editing you are asked to use the Auto setting on your camera. The Stilio editors use specific steps to edit your photos and one of them includes adjusting white balance (another example how Stilio editing saves you time!).