Through the Looking Lens: No. 4


Different types of light conditions have different colour temperatures.  If you take a photo using tungsten lighting (your usual light bulbs) you’ll notice that the whole picture will have a yellowish tinge to it.  If you take a photo in fluorescent light, it will have a bluish-green tint to it.  These are colour casts.  Sometimes, for a visual effect, the photographer will desire a colour cast, and shoot at particular times of day to obtain this.  For example in the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, they might make use of the ‘golden hour’ for the particular warm glow that is achieved in photographs at those times.  However, an hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset will achieve a colder, blue colour cast – great for making a cold day look even colder.

However, if you’re photographing people, they’re not going to look their best in blue light.  It makes them look like they are the walking dead and similarly, you could make them look quite jaundiced with warmer colour casts.  If the lighting produces tints that you don’t want, then the photographer will aim for ‘white balance’ in the shot.  This means to effectively remove the colour cast.

You could spend some time post-processing to remove the colour cast as I have done with the photograph I took last week:


And here it is with some of the colour cast removed with post processing:


In the process of correcting, it was difficult not to introduce a different colour cast and truly achieve white balance.  If I’d played for longer, that white cloth might eventually look white.

But isn’t prevention better than cure?

If only I knew how to adjust the white balance of my shots without using an automatic mode on the camera!

Sometimes there are good reasons to go read that manual.   Heading to page 89, I find there are several options from using in-built settings to creating and storing my own white balance adjustments.  The easiest however might sound the most complex.

Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins.  The higher the kelvins – the colder the photo will appear. 5000 K is the temperature of ‘white light’.   By going choosing the Kelvins option, I can just rotate a dial to create the desired compensation.  So with the blue colour cast as seen in the glasses above, by inputting a high Kelvin setting that reflects that cast, the camera then makes the adjustment to produce better white balance.

The Challenge


Play around with colour cast.  Take photos in different light conditions, both natural and artificial.  Note how the colour tint in the image changes.

If you have a camera with more control, investigate how to correct colour cast and obtain white balance.  Have a go!

Challenge Response


I chose this quaint figurine to photograph indoors, using natural light.  My aim was to create images requiring no editing in photoshop, to minimise time.  I set the WB meter to three different settings: roughly 2500, 5000 and 7500 K, producing two photos with colour cast and one with white balance.  The difference is most visible in the ‘whites’ of the image.


Image perfect?  Hmmm, well, you’ll notice the whites, particularly in the background are quite bleached.  However the front of the figurine was shadowed from the light.   Some over exposed and underexposed parts.  We’ll talk exposure in the next challenge and ways to deal with these issues.

Let us know how you get on with the challenge, if you’re following.   I’m feeling happy I’ve learned something new!



10 thoughts on “Through the Looking Lens: No. 4

  1. Good job done Safar, very interesting stuff.
    I bought myself some camera stuff a while back and it’s sat in the box since as I didn’t have the opportunity or time to use it. It just so happens that I pulled it all out 3 weeks ago – followed by your great info.
    However, I don’t know where I put your previous posts on this – I must have misfiled by accident.
    Would it therefore be possible for you to forward them on so that I may start at the beginning and get my head round all these technicalities which are a bit of a blinding flummox for I’m pretty clueless with any of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrew, welcome to the blog and the challenge. I’m happy that someone else is finding this useful. Just to explain where I’m coming from – I’m doing some photography classes that are very theoretic. Out of each class, I’ve set myself a challenge that implements the theory in practice in my own time. So I’m no expert, but really happy for others to sing along!! Feel free to post a link to anything you come up with in the comments.
      You can find all the challenges by going to the Let’s Play tab at the top and I think ‘through the looking lens’ is the first menu option. Alternatively, enter ‘through the looking lens’ into the search tab in the side bar and if you’re really lost – here’s the first three links:
      No. 1:
      No. 2:
      No. 3:

      Hope that helps!


  2. Fascinating. That quaint little figurine is Shou Xing, the God of Longevity. As he rules over the dates of people’s lives and deaths, I suggest you photograph him in a good light. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my word Debbie, we’re so grateful you’ve enlightened us. The statue was given to us by the wife of Verd’s father who died about 5 years ago. She felt it embodied his spirit very well. I’ve just loved him. I’ve tried sketching, modelling him in blender and now photos. Verd didn’t know either who he represents. Anyway, he’s one of the few items we’ve agreed to keep out of our belongings. I’ll see if I can get that lighting right next time!! I did think when I posted that if anyone knows it’s likely to be you!

      Think I’ve answered your question, Calen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my goodness, Safar! dont you just love the World Wide Web? particually the blogging section:)
        so glad to have solved your question. if Verd’s father’ s spirit had a connection with Shou Xing, he must have been a wonderful man. ( which of course, being your partner’s father, does without saying, lol)
        Shou Xing means life star, and this god resides in the Southern Stellar Pole. he is one of my favourite gods and i have a beautiful silk embroidery of him, and been meaning to post about him for a long time. now i have more reason to.
        he usually hangs around with a couple of other dudes, and together they are known as Fu Lu Shou – gods of abundance, happiness and long life. its pretty cool you guys have just him, as he usually is inseparable from his mates, they come in a pack, so quite interesting really that you just have the Shou Xing. That peach in his hand is the peach of immortality. 🙂


        1. Gosh, will share this with Verd when he gets home. Wonder if his mates ever come our way, too? Our quest is abundance and happiness! We don’t know how Mike (Verd’s father) came to possess him, and we can’t ask now as Barbara passed a couple of years later, unless Verd’s mother knows (first wife). Looking forward to that post!


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