How Pawsome White Balance can Improve Your Dog Photos


Its Linda here behind the keyboard, back with another week of Friday Foto Fun. This week I thought we could take a look at white balance and how to use it for dog photography.

So what is White Balance Anyway?

Have you ever taken a photo of your dog and wondered why the colours didn’t look quite right? The photos might have come out slightly bluish, or with an orange cast to them?

This could be because your camera misinterpreted the light, and set the white balance wrong before capturing the image .

Different sources of light have different colour, or temperatures. Light bulbs and candles create a warmish light, leaving your photos with yellowish cast,  whereas fluorescent light creates that horrible blue greenish cast that makes anyone look horrible. The human eye can look at a scene in any type of light and still interpret the colours right. Our eyes adjust and we instinctively know what white, blue and red loks like whether we see them in natural day light, or in the soft glow from a candle.

The camera isn’t quite as clever and sometimes needs a little help figuring out how to deal with different types of light –  we do this by  adjusting the white balance to get the colours in our images as accurate as possible.

White Balance Options

Every camera is different, so you’ll have to get that dreaded manual out to figure out how to change your camera’s white balance. Once you’ve found the right menu, you’ll probably find some or all of the following options. I like to think of the white balance settings as different types of warming up or cooling down filters – because that is essentially what they are doing to your image. If you shoot your photos in raw (which I do), then you can always go back and change the white balance after the shoot.

Try and shoot the same subject with the different white balance options and see what a difference they make!

  • Auto – The camera chooses the white balance it thinks is right for the shot. This will work fine for most photo shoots outdoors, but bear in mind that the camera will get easily confused.
  • Tungsten – This setting ‘cools down’ the colours in your photos and you can use it when photographing your dog indoors, where most lighting is made up from light bulbs.
  • Fluorescent – this setting ‘warms up’ your shot and like magic, that horrible green/blue cast from the fluorescent lighting disappears.
  • Daylight –  This is quite a ‘neutral’ setting, and is perfect for snaps in the sunshine on a bright day.
  • Cloudy/Shade – These settings warms things up and are perfect when shooting doggie portraits in the shade or on an overcast day.
  • Flash – We’ve all seen how horrible flash can make colours look, and this setting warms up your shot a little extra.
  • Manual – You show the camera an example of what white should look like and it adjusts the white balance accordingly. Perfect for tricky light situations with several light sources.

I shot the above photograph of Alfie in raw, and changed the white balance afterwards in my computer so you could see what a huge difference getting the right white balance can make!

Which white balance do you think looks best?

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  1. says

    mmm … a close call for me between Cloudy and Daylight. I like the warmth in Cloudy, but the plants look more lush in daylight.

  2. says

    Emma’s mom posting here…Funny you have this post today because the past week I have been experimenting with white balance. I kind of have it down except for indoors with no flash and no lights on – what do I use then? I have tried daylight but not sure so I tend to put in back to auto which I really don’t want to do. If it is a bright day outside I just don’t know why there is no indoor option – I don’t like the tungsten or flourescent and if I have no lights on that is awful. If you have any tips that would be great!

  3. says

    I think Cloudy is my favorite, but Shade was a close second.

    Thanks for posting these tips – I love the Friday Foto Fun feature!

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