Color concepts - White balance

Every time a digital camera takes a picture it needs to establish the white point as the basis from which the percentage of each color is derived. Because this is affected by the quality of light in a scene, most cameras offer adjustable white balance settings.

In auto mode, complex algorithms in the camera decide where the white point is. This is usually fairly accurate, though under cloudy conditions it may cause blue-tinged images. Incandescent or tungsten setting should be used for pictures indoors without flash. This will adapt white balance when the subject is lit by light bulbs, such as found in the home. However if you want to keep the romantic atmosphere as created by warm room light, do not compensate for this.

Use the fluorescent mode when the scene is lit by tube lighting. As there are several types of fluorescent lighting (cool white; warm white), you sometimes find more than one fluorescent adjustment.

Some digicams also offer a manual setting in which the user has to decide what is the exact white point. A small rectangular piece of white card can serve as a reference and you can adjust white balance by using this.