Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Workflow Technique #008

"Subjective White Balance 1"

review note by Uwe Steinmueller


As part of some test shots to compare 4x5 with the 1Ds Jim Collum and I worked on our photos and got quite a different WB (white balance).
The following shots are exactly the same 1Ds photo with just a different WB (in Capture One although other tools would get the same result). The natural light was at morning with cloudy overcast.




Which of the above WB settings is right?

  • I (and Jim too) actually the more neutral look of WB1 and it would probably also closer to the (subjective) impression at the location
  • The second one is corrected using a Color Checker



WB1 rocks used as a neutral reference

WB2 Color Checker used as neutral reference


Without any real neutral area in the picture our eyes would consider the rocks to be fairly neutral and adjust all colors in relation to this neutral reference.

Which one is correct? As you see it very much depends on what you want to express in your photo.

Does that mean a Color Checker is useless? Not at all, the true reference allows you to better understand if and why you want to diverge from the measured WB.

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