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19.2 - Is AWB the Best Method?

Many photographers use the automatic white balance (AWB) setting all of the time.

The AWB setting averages the color in a scene.

It's easy to use AWB.

But averaging the color doesn't work well when the color in a scene isn't average.

Two Examples

Red Barns

Lets' say you're photographing something that's all one color, such as a red barn.

If you use AWB, the red of the barn will be muted in the photograph.

Use the sun icon if you're in the sun, the cloudy icon on a cloudy day, and the shade icon if you're in the shade.


If you photograph a sunset using the AWB setting, the camera will decrease the intensity of the oranges and reds in the photograph.

Set the white balance on the sun icon to retain the color of sunsets.

In the top photograph below, the sun icon was used.

Note the warmth of the color in the field and trees behind the flowers.

The color was warm because the photograph was taken around 5 P.M.

The bottom photograph was made using the AWB setting.

Note how the warmth of the late light was averaged away.

Use the sun icon to preserve the colors of a sunset.


Sun Icon


Automatic White Balance

Here's the top of each photograph, for easier comparison:


Sun Icon


Automatic White Balance

Adjusting White Balance

You can use the products below to adjust white balance.


Warm Cards - White Balance Reference System


You can also use PhotoShop and other programs to adjust the color.