Tutorials |How to tweak white balance for better photos of autumn leaves

HOW TO... tweak white balance for better photos of autumn leaves

Autumn photography: 03 Compress perspective

Sometimes we get so caught up in right and wrong ways of doing things that we fail to see how breaking a rule could give a more interesting effect.

When you’re starting out in photography it’s best to learn these rules to provide a solid foundation from which you can build.

But once you have some experience under your belt, you can really start to develop a style for yourself by breaking some of the rules around which settings you need to use in X situations.

A perfect case in point is your camera’s white balance setting. We’re always told to make sure we use the correct white balance setting for the light in which we’re shooting in order to achieve an accurate white tone in your images.

But by dialling in the ‘wrong’ setting you can often boost tones and enhance a colour cast you’re trying to achieve. And this works particularly well with autumn photography.

Autumn is a season that is ripe with rich colour, however it is also known for its unpredictable weather and flat light.

To ensure you capture a scene in the best possible way, try changing the white balance setting on your camera to match, rather than just using the auto option. What’s more, you can tweak the levels in Photoshop afterwards to create a truly inspiring autumnal image.

Here are three simple ways to tweak your white balance in dull autumn weather to achieve bright, punchy images.

01 Avoid a cool tone

Shooting autumn leave where the weather conditions are fairly bright, you would expect to get a punchy, warm image in result. However, leaving your camera’s white balance set at Auto will give your final image a rather cold feel with little depth or crispness.

Of course, if you’re shooting raw files you can correct this in post-processing using your raw editor. But it’s always best – and easiest – to get it right in camera.

02 Sometimes wrong is right

By simply changing your white balance from Auto to Cloudy your camera will cope with the tonal ranges far better and has create a warmer feel, making your scenes look much more like how they actually appeared.

03 Using Levels

Tweaking the levels in Photoshop can make an image really come to life. Leaves can appear more prominent with a bit of contrast, and by slightly burning in some areas of your scene you can make the leaves’ edges appear even sharper.


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