I can be such an incredible airhead sometimes! I suppose you remember me complaining about the Dutch light in my post on Mocha Meringue Kisses? I’ll tell you again, it’s just the worst… If you’re unfamiliar with the Dutch weather, imagine the weather in London. Grey, drizzly, overcast and depressing right? Well, the Netherlands isn’t too far from the U.K. (only 358 kilometers from London to Amsterdam to be exact), and the Dutch weather is equally depressing.
Anyway, back to my airheadedness… Since first starting this blog, I’ve learned quite a lot about food photography and I thought I had really gotten to know my camera, a Nikon D80. And indeed, I now know all about shutter speed, ISO and such. I really thought I knew the secrets to taking a decent picture.
I took this picture about seven months ago, when the idea of starting a food blog had firmly lodged itself into my mind and I wanted to find out whether I could even take a decent picture.
I was actually quite happy with this picture (though not so much with its subject).
That was, until I took this picture in June…
… which I was incredibly proud of! See? I’ve really gotten a lot better at food photography these past six months!
But I never knew about a nifty little function called white balance. Digital camera’s apparently have great difficulty in automatically determining what objects are white under different light conditions. For example, an object our eyes perceive as white, may look a little yellow or orange as the sun is setting, and that same object may look a little grey in the shade. Human eyes can adjust the way they perceive color to these different light conditions, but camera’s can’t do this. Instead, they are likely to create a color cast in the picture.
Remember this picture? It looks kind of blue, right? Well, that’s because my white balance was set to daylight, while I took this picture on a very rainy day. I tried to adjust the light intensity in the picture by decreasing the shutter speed, but the picture still came out a greenish blue.
If the white balance isn’t set properly to the light conditions you’re working in, it can negatively affect the ‘temperature’ of your picture. In this case, the piped meringue kisses on the baking sheet looked a lot ‘colder’ than they did in real life.
Just look at these two pictures. The top one obviously has a ‘colder ‘ blueish cast, while the other has a ‘warmer’ yellow feel to it.
Both of these pictures were taken with the ‘cloudy day’ setting on my camera though. Even within the ‘cloudy day’ setting itself, it’s possible to adjust the white balance, so the camera perceives the white table that serves as a background in these pictures as white.
I’m just so happy I finally figured this out! Now all I have to do to avoid taking crappy, blue pictures is adjust my camera’s white balance so white objects actually turn out white in the pictures!
… Like I said: airhead…