Kelvin vs. AWB vs. Shade

First and foremost, I want to put it out there I am, by NO means an expert in this category. I am merely stating my observations as far as camera settings are concerned.  There are so many other very knowledgeable resources out on the internet, but for me, I always find I work better with hands-on training, rather than sitting at the computer for hours and reading up on a subject…at least as far as learning photography is concerned. So don’t just READ this blog post, but read and try it out on your own. And then come back and share with me your findings!

Okay – with that said, I want to show you a photograph. It’s a series of three photos of my daughter, Emma. Same ISO of 400, same shutter speed of 1/80 of a second and same f-stop of 1.4.

The onlydifference is the temperature settings.  There has been absolutely NO post processing of these three photos either – they are all SOOC images (straight out of the camera).

The 1st image was taken with the temperature set at approximately 4300K. The 2nd image was set to AWB (auto white-balance) and the 3rd was set to the setting “Shade”.

For the past three years, I have to admit, I have used AWB. It’s been good to me. At least I thought it had been.

Here’s my cheat sheet for the scale, just in case you wanted to really give this a go with your camera:

6500K – overcast sky

6000K – flash

5600K – direct sun, typical outdoor light

4800 – 4200K inside without lights on/ daytime

3500K – 2500K – typical indoor light with lights on, incandescent & tungsten lighting (i.e. inside a church for those wedding photographers!)

2500K – fire/candlelight


Look at your image – does it seem too warm? Decrease your Kelvin setting. Too cool? Bump it up!

Like I said above, I’m not an expert on this, I just merely sharing what I’ve learned with you, my friends! The above list is not hard and fast, it’s a guideline for what I’ve learned from other photographers, as well as my own experience playing around. I imagine after 2012 wedding season, I may be able to come back on here and report my ‘exact’ findings, but for now just play with the above numbers and go from there.

If this doesn’t help you, like it helped me, maybe next photography post will – I’ll keep on trying!




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