The crazy thing is that your eyes usually adjust to compensate for these color shifts, especially the subtle ones, so you won’t necessarily perceive these color differences, and in some cases your eyes are not as sensitive to color shifts as are the sensors in your camera. So you snap that office photo and the result isn’t as great as you had expected. Because of the color, those fluorescent bulbs cast a green pall over everything but you didn’t see it because your eyes “adjusted” the color for you.
This is where your White Balance settings play an important role in correcting potential problems by adjusting the color of the light in the camera. It is really important when you’re taking images of people, because the skin tones will be unattractive and far from natural looking.
But, if you are a landscape photographer, armed with the knowledge that light has color and your camera has a tool that can change the color of light, you can use this knowledge to do more creative landscape photography.
White Balance for Landscape Photography
I shoot a lot of landscapes, in fact I pretty much ONLY shoot outdoors. Thankfully I almost never have to deal with those ugly green fluorescent lights. But what I do deal with are sunsets, sunrises, autumn colors, mountains, flowers, etc. – all those good things we find in nature.
I noticed that sometimes my sunset images just didn’t pack the punch the way I SAW it at the location. Sure, I could go back to my computer and make adjustments. Or, without degrading any pixels, I could punch up my images in camera by purposely fooling it into using a different White Balance. In other words I don’t use White Balance to correctcolor casts, I use it to ADD color casts! I deliberately use the “wrong” White Balance setting.