White balance is a very useful setting that shows the correct color reproduction, but we commonly use the white balance set in automatic whatever the situation, which many times it gives us an unexpected result or even unpleasant for some people.
The white balance must adapt itself to the situation that we want to handle. Here are 2 photographs; in fact they are the same, only that in one of them we have a different white balance to the other one.
Basically we are helping the camera understand what type of lighting is being received in the lens and then in the sensor to capture the image, we will decide if we let the camera detect the lighting (Automatic) or if we have artificial lighting such as FLASH or Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Custom.
The differences between one picture and the other are more than noticeable; here I leave you an example with the same picture.
It should be noted that changing the white balance cannot only be switched in the camera, if we are shooting in RAW (thanks to the quantity of information), but we can also apply this changing in LIGHTROOM and it will be applied without a problem.
In the first photo we have White Balance set in AUTOMATIC (in Lightroom it appears in “HOW IT WAS TAKEN”).
In this one we have the DAYLIGHT White Balance.
This one is in CLOUDY.
And this last one is in TUNGSTEN.
As you can see, the changes are perfectly remarkable, don’t you think? The ideal is to adapt the white balance to the situation that we find ourselves in, however, it never hurts to try an unknown situation since sometimes we stumble upon very interesting results.
Generally, the most common options (since they depend on each camera) are:
Sunlight: where the camera assumes that the received light is natural (from the Sun, obviously) being in an outside space with quite a lot of luminosity.
Fluorescent: here the camera will take into account that there is a space that is being illuminated by fluorescent light.
Shade: in this setting the camera will take into account a very cloudy sky with scarce light conditions in open spaces.
Tungsten: in this one, the camera will take as measurement the fact that there is an illuminated place by the incandescent or halogen light (such as light bulbs or flashlights).