I finally did it I bit the bullet and signed up for an intro to photography course. My main goal is to wean myself off of auto-mode and to get jazzed about taking pictures again. The course runs for the next 4 weeks or so and I will be posting any ‘homework’ or exercises here. Today’s experiment is about White Balance and trying the different default camera white balance settings and seeing their effect.


From the book Nikon D5100: From Snapshots to Great Shots

“Luckily, you don’t need to have a deep understanding of color temperatures to control your camera’s white balance. The choices are given to you in terms that are easy to relate to and that will make things pretty simple. Your white balance choices are:

  • Auto: The default setting for your camera. It is also the setting used by all of the automatic scene/effects modes.
  • Incandescent: Used for any occasion where you are using regular household-type bulbs for your light source. Incandescent (also called tungsten) is a very warm light source and will result in a yellow/orange cast if you don’t correct for it.
  • Fluorescent: Used to get rid of the green-blue cast that can result from using regular fluorescent lights as your dominant light source. Some fluorescent lights are actually balanced for daylight, which would allow you to use the Direct Sunlight white balance setting.
  • Direct Sunlight: Most often used for general daylight/sunlit shooting.
  • Flash: Used whenever you’re using the built-in flash or a flash on the hot shoe. You should select this white balance to adjust for the slightly cooler light that comes from using a flash.
  • Cloudy: The choice for overcast or very cloudy days. This and the Shade setting will eliminate the blue color cast from your images.
  • Shade: Used when working in shaded areas that are still using sunlight as the dominant light source.
  • Pre: Indicates that you are using a customized white balance that is adjusted for a particular light source. This option can be adjusted using an existing photo you have taken or by taking a picture of something white or gray in the scene.”