White Balance


Why is it called ‘White’ Balance? Why not red or blue?

Answer by: Naveen Krishnan, Assistant Manager, Sales and Technical Support, Nikon India

The term is white balance for a reason. White light is a mixture of seven different colours. We have seen what happens when white light passes through a glass prism. The light disperses into its component colours called VIBGYOR (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red). Back in school, we had a science project that involved colouring a white circular disc in these seven colours and when you spin the disk, it appeared entirely white. Hence, it is believed that if white appears as white in a given scene, the remaining colours will also appear more natural, without any particular colour cast. Some photographers also use a grey card (18% grey) to manually measure white balance using the preset WB setting of the camera, for more accuracy. I personally use Auto WB, since I shoot in the RAW format. This allows me to tweak the white balance during the post production stage of the image.