Lighting, White Balance and Colour Temperature

22nd January 2021

Different types of light

I have decided to explore and research ‘light’ because there is something slightly ‘off’ with a few of my images taken for Assignment one: Square Mile. It may only be a small practice problem, however lighting is the fundamental principle of making photographs and to know the subject can only aid my learning and skill development.

I like reading other peoples blogs and website texts on subjects. They usually, (hopefully) know about the topic they are discussing and have diagrams and photographs to help illustrate their text.

This is the first of the light articles that I have come across which explains more about the different types of light in photography from the website (accessed 19th January 2021) and the title of the page is, ‘What Are The Different Types Of Light In Photography?’ and it is written by Amin Hashem.

The article tells us that these are types of light,

  • Different types of light Natural and artificial light
  • Intensity of Light of which there are three different types Luminous Flux and Intensity = Light Coming from a Source, Illuminance = Light Falling on a Surface= Incident light, Luminance = Light Reflected from a Surface
  • Quality of light Hard and soft light
  • Colour of light
  • Direction of light

I would presume for each different type of light there would be many variables, therfore it really is important to get grips with knowing light and how to read it. I would prefer to would capture it correctly in camera. as much as possible, rather than having to rely on post editing techniques.

Understanding colour temperature from the website photography by Becki Robins

(Accessed 19th January 2021)

Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin. Different sources of light have different color temperatures. Incandescent or tungsten lights are warm. Candlelight is even warmer. The natural light on a cloudy day is cooler, while fluorescent light can give your photo a green cast.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most common lighting situations you might encounter and what the corresponding Kelvin number is:

Becky Robins (accessed 19th January 2021)
  • Candlelight: 1900
  • Incandescent light: 2700
  • Sunrise/golden hour: 2800 to 3000
  • Halogen lamps: 3000
  • Moonlight: 4100
  • White LEDs: 4500
  • Mid-day: 5000 to 5500
  • Flash: 5500
  • Overcast/cloudy: 6500 to 7500
  • Shade: 8000
  • Heavy cloud cover: 9000 to 10000
  • Blue sky: 10000
Note that the cooler the light, the higher the number. The warmer the light, the lower the number.

‘Your brain automatically deals with color cast, so it’s not something you’ll notice unless you’re looking out for it. However, your camera isn’t as smart as you and often needs your help.’ Robins

Color temperature changes throughout the day, depending on the time and the amount of clouds in the sky. At dawn, the sky appears light blue. At sunset, the sky appears orange (this is what photographers refer to as the golden hour or magic light); and at dusk, the sky appears violet-blue.

Becky Robins, (accessed 19th January 2021)

White Balance and Colour Temperature

While reading this website information, I read about the White Balance and this is something that I thought might be one of my problems. I forgot all about the WB adjustment button on my camera, having only set it once which was right at the beginning of the OCAs Foundation in Photography course that I was studying on.

I looked at the camera and WB again but could not find the menu for it, this panicked me slightly so I looked up GH5 and white balance but all the articles I read had instructions that for some unknown reason I could not follow on my camera as they were missing from the menu. I am presuming that in a software update the White Balance function has changed from the icons to a slider.

I have spent two afternoons trying to find out what has happened to my settings and menu connected with the White Balance and only found one other person with the same issue. The gentleman, u/mhsmith33 posted a help question on Reddit (url unobtainable in Reddit app) he had the same slider appear for the white balance menu when the WB button on top of the GH5 was pressed. No one new the answer and the problem was not solved, below is a copy of the discussion on Reddit,

Reading around the subject, I have found that the ways photographers handle the white balance is a preference in their personal practice. The different ways found so far in my research are:

  • Using in-camera settings and adjusting accordingly
  • Leaving the white balance on a constant setting/ Auto and adjusting images in post editing software such as Photoshop to neutralise the colour temperature
  • Using colour correction filters that screw on the lenses
  • Grey card reference pointing
  • Colour checkers reference kit

The majority of photographers who are blogging actually rely on post processing, only adjusting their white balance settings in extreme conditions when the colour temperature is noticeably incorrect or when changing from day to evening etc… However this means that the workflow is increased in the work on the computer due to the extra colour correction that is needed for individual images.

At the moment though, until my camera settings have been fixed my camera will have to stay on AWB.

20th January 2021

Brilliant news, still researching and fiddling with my menu, I managed to reinstate the White Balance menu. I was so lucky, I was just about to complete a factory reset – Phew!

The problem was I had switched the Filter Settings on and when you do this they replace the White Balance settings. Therefore the gentleman who replied to u/mhsmith33 on Reddit was incorrect, it was not a saturation slider but a filter slider. The information in camera states ‘Customized setting to change the Color characteristics of your pictures’, not sure why on Earth I would have changed the White Balance to this setting but at least everything is now sorted…. and breathe.


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