The right colour balance

White balance, as the name suggests, adjusts the camera’s colour settings so that white objects are accurately recorded as white in the image, whatever the illumination.

Our brain automatically compensates for changes in light, so that a sheet of paper appears the same colour whether we view it in daylight or with indoor lighting. The white balance feature overcomes the same issue on your Canon camera.

Most of the time the Auto White Balance setting will give you great results; however adjusting the white balance to ‘Cloudy’ on the greyer days of autumn will bring out the colours you see in front of you. Experiment with different settings for the same subject to see which you like best.

Filtering the results with a polariser

A polarising filter can change some colours, but has no colour itself. As the name suggests, it works by controlling polarised light.

Light from the sun is unpolarised – the waves of light are all at different angles to the axis (direction) of the light. However, if this light is reflected from a non-metallic surface, the waves become ordered and all have the same angle to the axis.

Depending on how the polarising filter is rotated, it will block most polarised light, let some of it through, or let all of it through. Light reflected from flowers and leaves is polarized so a filter rotated to block polarised light reduces the amount of light from these surfaces, increasing the saturation of these colours.

But do be a little careful as a polarising filter blocks reflections, so shiny surfaces will appear to lose their shine. It can also make photographs of leaves look ‘flat’.


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