White Balance: Auto or Kelvin? |PLUS Choosing the Right Focal Point

POSTED IN : Photographers, Shooting & Workflow

Welcome to another Reader FAQ! Thanks for submitting your questions to us – we get such a thrill out of answering our readers most pressing questions about their businesses.

This is an ongoing series, so make sure to read the rest of our Reader FAQ posts.

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered already, check out the info at the bottom of this post for how to submit. You never know, it just may be featured here on the bloggy-blog!

On with today’s questions…

Big Burning Question #1:

How do you set your White Balance? Do you use auto or Kelvin?

Since we shoot RAW, the majority of the time during a wedding day we typically shoot Auto White Balance and that gets the majority of our images pretty close to correct.

However, if we’re going to be in a certain lighting situation for an extended period of time (the couple portraits, getting ready, during an engagement session, etc), then we’ll set our white balance manually using Kelvin.

It’s helpful to see the final color temperature for a series of images so that we can get the images as close to correct as possible in the camera, and save editing time on the backend.

Plus, with certain scene-setting shots such as the empty reception room or the venue at twilight, seeing a proper white balance in camera helps to get the exposure and color perfect in camera.

That being said, I firmly believe that while we’re shooting on a wedding day our clients are paying for us to be shooting, not to be messing with a white balance card or color passport.

Instead of spending time making sure the WB is perfect while shooting, I think our time is better spent being observant of moments as they occur and capturing them.

Now I don’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to what you’re doing technically, because you DEFINITELY should be, and you should really be getting things right in camera.

But don’t miss important candid moments if you’re paying too much attention to things like your white balance.

Big Burning Question #2:

Do you worry about manually choosing a focus point or do you let the camera auto choose for you? Seems that manually choosing would be too time consuming.

Both of us choose our focus point manually, for sure!

The camera isn’t smart enough to choose the right point, ESPECIALLY when shooting a very shallow depth of field (like f/2.0 for example).

So having your camera in “grid” focus mode where it chooses the point closest to the camera is a good way to get a ton of soft images.

Setting the focus point manually is quite time consuming if you have the focus point selection method set to the default method, but if you use the custom functions of your camera (on a Canon at least) you can switch the method of selection to “Multi-Controller-Direct” which makes that little joystick on the back of your camera body select your point.

Push the joystick in for center, right for right, up for top, etc.

What this means for us is that I can be talking to a client, with the camera at my side, and be quickly selecting the left most focus point with my thumb.

Then when I lift the camera up to my eye, I’m ready to compose the shot, focus, and capture the image without fussing around getting the right point selected.

This is available on all Canon Models, but the CF number is different. Check your camera manual for specific instructions on setting this up.

I promise – this will change your life.

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***As always, make sure to read through the current Reader FAQ posts to make sure your question hasn’t been answered already!***




Hi there! We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren, a hubby and wifey wedding photography team in San Diego. We shoot together. We travel together. We dream together. And we believe the best thing to hold onto in life is each other (+ a great glass of wine…)

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