Balancing Mixed Lighting

 

When I am out shooting I find that I am almost always faced with mixed lighting from tungsten, LED, fluorescent and halogen lights. What is the best way to determine the proper White Balance in this situation?
Anurag Banerjee, Kolkata, via email

This story was originally published in February 2015.

Different lights have different colour temperatures on the Kelvin scale. While the cooler blues have readings like 6000K and higher, the warm tones have readings like 5000K and lower. Selecting one of the available WB presets will be fine for one kind of light but may accentuate the casts caused by other light sources. So, in situations where you cannot avoid either light source, you need to choose a preset corrects one of them.

Another option is to use either the onboard flash or a flashgun. Shooting in RAW will also give you greater control over correcting casts in postprocessing. In situations where there are multiple light sources, but the overall tone of the light is uniform, you can use a grey card or even a sheet of white paper to set Custom WB.

Firing the flash has helped subdue the pink cast. It has also helped freeze motion despite the use of a slow shutterspeed. Photograph/Shreya Sen

Firing the flash has helped subdue the pink cast. It has also helped freeze motion despite the use of a slow shutterspeed. Photograph/Shreya Sen

Tags: Balancing Mixed Lighting, Q & A, What is the best way to determine the proper White Balance in this situation?