Degrees of Kelvin White Balance

posted in: Photography | 16

This is a tutorial about adjusting degrees of Kelvin white balance. Most of us when shooting in RAW mode don't worry too much about white balance.  We know that we can change it in post editing.  But seriously we should try to photograph the scene as we see it as accurately as possible from the outset. No matter if we are shooting in jpeg mode or RAW mode.

degrees of kelvin white balance - old telephone box
an old red telephone box - a rare icon these days!

Rock on Kelvin!


Shhh don't tell ...but I had a date with Kelvin!


I'd seen him before but never really took any notice of him. Moreover he's a bit of a colourful guy along with being a maths geek. Though he sounded like he was a bit out of my league.


Then at the weekend I came across him again. I thought ...hmmm one day I'll have to find out more about him. Well I didn't think it would be so soon. Girls about speed dating! 

degrees of kelvin white balance - autumn photos of berries, ivy flowers and rosehips
all sooc's taken between 7000 and 9000 degrees of kelvin yesterday on a cloudy evening about an hour before sunset.

We finally met up on Tuesday afternoon thanks to Jill.


No phone call was even necessary.


Now just in case you're thinking 'Hey Rosie's publicly admitting to adultery here!' well it's not quite so.


I'm a bit of a creative writer after all!  

Degrees of Kelvin White Balance Guidelines


Degrees of Kelvin is a measurement for setting your white balance in the camera. There are a few ways of setting your white balance in camera.  Usually it's AWB (Auto White Balance), CWB (Custom White Balance), Preset White Balance (Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent), or White Balance by degrees of Kelvin. BUT if you really want your SOOC jpegs to rock and remove colour casts ...then you need to have a date with Kelvin too. Instead of using auto white balance you use degrees of Kelvin when shooting in the lighting conditions below.


Types of Light


  • Incandescent artificial lighting conditions: around 2500-3500 degrees of Kelvin white balance


  • Fluorescent artificial lighting conditions: around 3500-4500 degrees of Kelvin white balance


  • Daylight conditions: around 4800-5800 degrees of Kelvin white balance


  • Cloudy/Shade conditions: around 6200-7500 degrees of Kelvin white balance

degrees of kelvin white balance infographic 

degrees of kelvin white balance colorchecker card

ColorChecker Card


You can take it a step further when working with RAWS and bring a ColorChecker card with you on your photoshoot.  Take a photograph of the colorchecker card in the light conditions you are working in. Then photograph your subject as normal.


Back home you can upload the photo of the colorchecker along with your other photos into either lightroom or photoshop.  Make a few clicks on the colorchecker to correct the white balance.  Sync that with your batch of photos from the shoot and voila!  You've got the correct white balance on all your photos.


Capturing Natural Colours In-Camera

degrees of kelvin white balance - purple verbena flowers with a hint of light catching the flowers

degrees of kelvin white balance - red sign about red squirrels near Glenalmond, Perhthshire

degrees of kelvin white balance - Buchanty Spout, Perthshire

It's a bit like having photoshop actions in your camera. You can be quite creative with the warmth and coolness of your image. Or like me just want your sooc to appear as natural as you saw it with your own eyes.


Me and Kelvin clicked immediately!  In fact all the photos in this post are sooc's using various degrees of kelvin sharpened and re-sized for the web.

Rock on Kelvin!

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh.

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16 Responses

  1. Ellie

    Rosie, these are wonderful I was looking at one thinking that's a great shot and then the next and the next.
    I'm going to have a look at Kelvin and see what I can learn. Thanks for sharing.
    Just had another look at your pictures you verbena is jumping out at me. Beautiful!!!

  2. Kim Stevens

    Oh Rosie, that Kelvin sure is a two timer! ha I've actually been trying to wrap my head around all this white balance too, have been reading in my book (on how to better master my camera) on how to change this in my camera. Now I need to go out and see if I learned anything! ha

    I'm so in love with that last image – it is sooooo beautiful!!

  3. Jill Samter Photography

    LOL! I love this post so much!

    He he he! Our humor is so similar 🙂

    LOVE IT!

    Hey KELVIN you got a pretty sweet following and I know you will treat all my friends very nicely! Take good care of them all around the world for me!!!


  4. Jaymi

    These are really great photos! I'm so impressed that they are SOOC. The rules of Kelvin are so important to learn–I definitely need to brush up on it a little. Thanks for linking up!

  5. Pieces of Sunshine

    Rosie these are delightful. I love your mosaic in particular. The colours remind me of Christmas. Also love your phone booth and waterfall. So much beauty to fill our days with.

  6. Susan

    Looks like you and Kelvin had a great time together.

    Love the results.

    I really need to meet him myself.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Your pictures are stunning!!

  7. Kimberly

    These are all amazing! Love the flowing river/creek!

    I really need to have a date with Kelvin also! But I'm still not sure how to reach him. Reading that manual now though. 🙂

  8. Michelle

    GASP! Rosie!! Wow!! I love how Kelvin is getting around and rocking everyone's world… haha! In the most platonic of ways, of course! hehe! Isn't it amazing how one setting on your camera can change so much??? I'm looking forward to my second date with the guy…

    Anyway, LOVE your shots! Beautiful! And wow! My jaw dropped with that last one!! Forget the salmon – that's perfect!! 😀 (although seeing some salmon jumping would be pretty cool, too!)


  9. Zondra Art

    Dera Carol,
    These are really amazing photos!
    Thanks for shering this beauty with us.

    Kisses and nice day.

  10. deb duty

    Gorgeous photos, Rosie! You really did nail the white balance. I was just reading about using Kelvin and was thinking about trying it out. Thanks for the link. By the way, I love the movement of the water that you captured!

  11. Tara

    These are gorgeous Rosie! You crack me up, I was thinking..wait, what? LOL, I need a date with Kelvin too 🙂