Get Better Color with White Balance

All digital cameras use a setting called White Balance to try to reproduce colors as we see them. However, the automatic white balance setting, which every camera is set to by default, removes the very intense colors of the sunset that inspires us to take the picture in the first place.

To change this automatic setting, you need to switch your camera from total automatic exposure to the equivalent of Program exposure mode, indicated by the letter P on the exposure dial. Program is still automatic, but it's more adjustable than basic automatic.

Canon Exposure Dial set to Program (P)

In Program mode you can change the White Balance from automatic to daylight (indicated by an icon of a sun). The daylight White Balance setting does not try to change the colors in the scene; it records them just as they are. The White Balance control may be a button on the outside of the camera or a choice in the menus.

Sunrise with automatic White Balance

Daylight-Sunny White Balance Icon

Sunrise with daylight (sunny) White Balance

So switching to Program mode and daylight White Balance when you want to photograph a sunset should give you much more colorful results. Learn more about the controls on your digital camera in Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera at the Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, Montana. You can take a single-day Saturday class on October 14 or a five-session class beginning October 24. Click here to register.