DSLRs have built-in white balance correction presets. Usually, they are “sunny”, “cloudy”, “shade”, “tungsten”, “flourescent”, and “flash”, with estimated Kelvin/color temperatures. In certain cases, these presets may not work precisely to show the natural colors of your photo subjects.
The two photos below show two preset white balance correction: the “Auto White Balance” and the “Tungsten” white balance. The ambient light is a warm, yellowish color. The “Auto White Balance” miserably failed to correct the color temperature in the first photo. The “Tungsten” preset, to a certain degree, managed to correct the ambient light in the second photo but not completely as there were still traces of “yellowish” light appearing.
Using Auto White Balance
Using the “Tungsten” white balance preset
This is where the “custom white balance” could come in handy. All DSLRs have this feature and using it is as easy as clicking the shutter. First, take a photo of anything that is originally colored white (of course, it will be “yellowish” under the light condition as mentioned above). Second, select the “Custom White Balance” FUNCTION of your gear and load the photo you took in the first step. And lastly, go to the preset white balance and select the “custom white balance” PRESET.
There you go, that’d be it. In the photo below, the “yellowish” ambient light has been completely corrected by the “custom white balance” making it appear as if the ambient light is in a white, neutral color temperature showing the natural colors of your subject(s).
Using the Custom White Balance