Now that you have the Exposure Trio down pat, let’s move on to two settings that are equally important: White Balance & Focal Points
Using the Exposure Trio is crucial to make sure your photos come out properly. If your shot is underexposed, has too narrow a depth-of-field, or is too grainy, it can ruin the photo. A perfectly composed shot can be ruined if the White Balance is off or if you picked an incorrect focal point. But Andrew, what are these settings? What better way than to show you? Let’s dive right in!
1. White Balance
White Balance is, simply put, how warm or cool your photo will be when you click the shutter. Your White Balance (or temperature) is measured in Kelvin and ranges from 4,000K-8,000K. While you’ll see options for temperature ranges beyond that range, those options will make your photo look funky. The lower the temperature (closer to 4,000K), the cooler your photo will be while the higher the number (towards 8,000K) the warmer your photo will be. If this sounds complicated, don’t be dissuaded. Look at the two photos below to see what I mean.
Still unsure? Don’t be! There are several different White Balance presets within your camera that’ll make things easier. These presets can be found within your camera’s main menu or, depending on your camera model, in a quick menu on the top. If you go in your menu and look for the White Balance option, you’ll be presented with a list of presets. The standard WB presets are Auto White Balance (AWB), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, and Custom. Each of them have a custom Kelvin value displayed next to it to help you understand where they fall on the temperature scale.
The easiest way to go about choosing is to look at your surroundings and pick the preset that fits what light you’re in. If you’re at the beach at sunrise, you’ll probably aim for the Daylight White Balance. If you’re hiking in the snowy mountains of Oregon, perhaps the Cloudy WB preset would be a better option. You could also set it to Auto White Balance (which allows the camera to choose the temperature) and edit the temperature in Lightroom or Photoshop. The choice is yours!
2. Focal Points
Now, this setting seems pretty self-explanatory. Focal points = where your camera focuses. Your camera can have anywhere between 9 (on my Canon 5D Mark ii) and 693 (on the Sony A7iii). The cool part? You can choose a single point to use, a cluster of points, or ALL of them. These are useful in different situations, which we’ll get into below.
There are different instances when you would use a single point, a group of points, or every focal point.
Single point: would be used if you’re wanting to keep the focus on a particular detail in a shot. For instance, I often use a single focal point in portraiture. The single focal point means I can use it to keep the model’s eyes sharp (a portrait photography pro-tip) while the rest of him/her might be out of focus.
Group of points: would be used if you have a subject matter on one side of the setting that you want to keep in focus. This is useful when you know your subject will be in a certain location and it doesn’t matter specifically what part of the subject is in focus.
As you can see from the above examples, the focal point you choose relates directly to the kind of photo you’re wanting to take. If you’re looking to get into portraiture, you’ll want to use the single focal point, make sure you focus on the model’s eyes, and keep your aperture wide open. On the contrary, if you’re shooting landscapes, you’ll most likely use the grouped focal points or even every focal point at once. If you combine this with a narrow aperture, you’ll get all of the crispy detail in that shot of the Arizonian mountains. As per usual, this will take practice. Get out there and shoot!
Now you know about White Balance and Focal Points!
If you have any questions about these two settings, comment them below! If you missed out on the last travel photography tip on the Exposure Trio, then click here to read more. I’ll see you next time!
Did you like the photos
in this post?
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