Folks, one of the most important aspects of digital photography is making sure that the color on your photos is accurate. And absolutely the only way to ensure this is to take control of your camera’s white balance setting at all times. This is something that you can do by shooting a grey card (like this Ezybalance Card (Grey/White)), or you can use a fantastic tool called an ExpoDisc (make sure and get the size equal to your largest lens diameter).
Let me illustrate the point very quickly with a couple of sample images.
This first image comes straight out of the Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 70-200mm lens. This is a $5,000 camera setup, and the camera was set on “Auto White Balance”. Basically, what I’m telling you is that your camera is definitely no better at auto white balance than this rig.
Now, if you ask me, that is a nice photo. The colors don’t look so bad, and I kind of like how the columns are a bit “rich” in color. All in all, no one would be complaining. Until they see what the image should have looked like…
Here is the same shot taken with a custom white balance set using an Expodisc:
Wow. All of a sudden, the sky looks bluer, the leaves look greener, and the stone looks… stoner? Anyway, hopefully this dramatically illustrates the point. Just imagine what happens when you take a photo of an actual person! Instead of them having a yellowish or reddish tint to their skin, you get an actual skin tone! Amazing.
So, I recommend that everyone pick up an expodisc for your photography. As long as your camera allows you to set a custom white balance, you should do it. And if your camera doesn’t – its a piece of crap and you should replace it with one that does!
Here is a little video that illustrates how to use an expodisc on a Canon. You can also see how to do it on a Nikon.
If you are not going to get an expodisc, then you should watch this video to see what your alternatives are for setting a custom white balance.