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Image problems: cause and resolution

Incorrect colors

Cause of incorrect colors:

Incorrect white balance.

Resolution of image problems:

White balance is a technical method to adapt digital cameras to the color temperature of the dominant light sources in the scene.
Understanding digital white balance can help improving photos under a wider range of lighting conditions.
Correct white balance produce colors that match those in the original scene. An incorrect white balance can create unsightly blue, orange, green color casts, which are unrealistic and particularly damaging to photograph.
Look in your camera manual for the description of white balance changing procedure. Examine and adjust the white balance in your camera before shooting if needed.

Photo 1. Correct white balancePhoto 2. Incorrect white balance

The temperature of the light illuminating an object is extremely important. Most cameras offer presets for common sources of light:

  • Auto (the default) works in a wide variety of lighting conditions.
  • Manual lets you set white balance manually by aiming the camera at a piece of white paper.
  • Daylight or Sunny is best when photographing outdoors in bright sunlight.
  • Incandescent or tungsten is best when photographing indoors under incandescent lights.
  • Fluorescent is best when photographing indoors under fluorescent lights.
  • Cloudy is best when photographing outdoors in cloudy or overcast conditions.
  • Flash is best when photographing with flash.

    Each camera manufacturer uses their own sets of algorithms to calculate the proper white balance for an image; and in most cases, the resulting colors are quite accurate. However, sometimes the auto white balance can be wrong, resulting in inaccurate color. In this case, look in your camera manual. There should be a way to set it manually for unusual lighting situations.
    One way to describe the color of a light source is by its color temperature. The color temperature scale is calibrated in degrees Kelvin.

    Color TemperatureLight Source
    1800 Ka candle
    2800 Ktungsten lamp (ordinary household bulb)
    3200 Kstudio lamps, photofloods
    5000 Ka designation of D50 stands for "Daylight 5000K" and is the most common standard for professional light booths for photography, graphic arts, and other purposes
    5200 Kbright midday sun
    5500 Kaverage daylight, electronic flash
    6000 Klightly overcast sky
    6500 Kheavily overcast sky
    8000 Khazy sky
    20000 Kdeep blue clear sky
    28000 - 30000 Ka lightning bolt

    The color temperature scale ranges from the lower color temperatures of reddish light to the higher color temperatures of bluish light.

    temperature scale

    Daylight contains proportionately more light toward the blue end of the spectrum. Incandescent light contains more toward the red end. That's why we describe daylight as "cooler" and incandescent light as "warmer."

    Photo 1. Cool Day light, clear skyPhoto 2. Cool Day light, overcast sky

    Photo 3. Warm of sunsetPhoto 4. Shade or heavily overcast sky.

    Photo 5. Electronic flashPhoto 6. Tungsten Bulb

    Processing image:

    Our photo designers can adjust color of your photos. Just click here to upload your photo and describe what kind of image enhancement you would like us to perform.

    See photo retouching.
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