Auto White Balance Versus Pre-set White Balance


White balance is one of the first things that confronts and confounds newbie photographers. Part of capturing light is developing the ability to “see” light and all kinds of light from warm tungsten lighting to bright sunlight and setting your camera to properly capture light. 

In the days of color film, one would choose between daylight balanced film and indoor balanced film.  Shoot the wrong film in the wrong light and you’d end up with either a blue cast to the light or a yellowish cast.



One way to “use the wrong film for the situation” was to use filters.  More on filters here.


With modern digital cameras and shooting in RAW mode allows one to easily adjust White Balance in post with programes like Adobe Lightroom. Shooting JPEG on the other hand cooks in the White Balance but it can still be adjusted, just not as easily as in RAW. 

Most of the advice I’ve gotten in the past said that today’s cameras can do a wonderful job figuring out WB so Auto WB is fine. But what happens when you come across a nice warm sunset? Auto WB might read the scene as too warm and cool it down. 

Beyond using “Daylight” for sunsets, Ober Photography suggests using “cloudy” for sunsets to really warm up the scene.


In Adobe Lightroom you can change the white balance for various effects.  But is it better to get it right in camera?  Maybe, because you might over look a dull photograph when your editing your images.

Example moving White Balance off of Auto White Balance

This image was taken in the studio with Flash. Shot with Auto White Balance in RAW and then brought into Adobe Lightroom and then initially changed to the “Flash” setting. The result was too cold for my taste so I applied a Abobe Lightroom OnOne Software Preset called Warming Filter 81a.

Art Prints


Free presets:


What say you? 



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