Creating a custom white balance setting

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If none of the preset white balance options produces the right amount of color correction, you can create your own custom setting. To use this technique, you need a piece of card stock that's either neutral gray or absolute white — not eggshell white, sand white, or any other close-but-not perfect white. (You can buy reference cards made just for this purpose in many camera stores for under $20.)

Position the reference card so that it receives the same lighting you'll use for your photo. Then take these steps:

1. Set the camera to the P, Tv, Av, M, or A-DEP exposure mode.

You can't create a custom setting in any of the fully automatic modes.

2. Set the camera to manual focusing and then focus on your reference card.

Chapter 1 has details on manual focusing if you need help.

3. Frame the shot so that your reference card fills the center area of the viewfinder.

In other words, make sure that at least the center autofocus point and the six surrounding points fall over the reference card.

4. Make sure that the exposure settings are correct.

Just press the shutter button halfway to check exposure. In M mode, make sure that the exposure indicator is at the midway point of the exposure meter. In other modes, a blinking aperture or shutter speed value indicates an exposure problem. If necessary, adjust ISO, aperture, or shutter speed to fix the problem; Chapter 5 explains how.

5. Take the picture of your reference card.

The camera will use this picture to establish your custom white balance setting.

6. Display Shooting Menu 2 and highlight Custom WB, as shown on the left in Figure 6-19.

Figure 6-19: You can create a custom white balance setting through Shooting Menu 2.

Now you see the screen shown on the right in Figure 6-19. The image you just captured should appear in the display. (The figure shows the picture I took of a gray reference card.) If not, press the right or left cross key to scroll to the image.

You see the message shown on the left in Figure 6-20, asking you to confirm that you want the camera to use the image to create the custom White Balance setting.

Figure 6-20: This message indicates that your White Balance setting is stored.

9. Press the right or left cross key to highlight OK and then press Set.

Now you see the screen shown on the right in Figure 6-20. This message tells you that the White Balance setting is now stored. The little icon in the message area represents the Custom setting.

10. Press Set one more time to finalize the deal and return to Shooting Menu 2.

Your Custom White Balance setting remains stored until the next time you work your way through these steps. So anytime you're shooting in the same lighting conditions and want to apply the same white balance correction, just press the WB button to access the White Balance settings and then select the Custom option.

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