We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is White Balance?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated: May 17, 2024

As a phenomenon that takes place during the process of photography, white balance has to do with the proper adjustment of the lighting contrast so that the best application of natural and artificial light sources takes place. By creating a situation where optimum lighting, or a white balance, is created, it is possible to ensure that the color content of the developed photograph will be exactly as the photographer intended.

The basis for achieving white balance has to do with the implementation of correct color cast. Essentially, color casts are created by taking into consideration the level of light that is available at the time of the photo session. The idea is to enhance or minimize the amount of light so that the balance between the colors and shades of the photograph create an image that meets the expectations of the person taking the photograph. When professional photographers conduct the process of white balance, this may mean relying solely on natural light or artificial light, or a combination of the two.

Different levels of light impact the WB, or white balance, that is achieved. For example, the white balance at noon on a sunny day is such that it allows for the photographic reproduction of true colors and shades. In effect, the white light that is present under those conditions is ideal for exact reproduction. Artificial light, such as incandescent sources, may be used when the desire is to accentuate red and yellow coloring in the subject. The presence of fluorescent light tends to accentuate the presence of shades of green. All these approaches to adjusting the white balance are used in the creation of photographic works that qualify as art forms.

The digital cameras of today tend to automatically adjust, based on the light conditions present. This means that the use of a flash, and in some cases the light level of the flash, are automatically adjusted by the camera itself. Because of the automated adjustment, the white balance more or less equals that of noontime on a sunny day, resulting in true color capture with no enhancements of one color or another. However, it should be noted that the quality of digital photographic equipment varies, so the degree of adjustment that is made may or may not be sufficient to achieve the desired look. In situations of this nature, it may still be necessary to manually use artificial means to enhance the amount of light that is cast in the area of the subject.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.