Project 52: tungsten balance

Alter the colour balance to tungsten on the camera’s white balance setting.

For this project I choose to concentrate on the 60 watt lamp in my living room. Before starting this section about ‘artificial’ light I had never known that these kind of lamps were classed as tungsten. Whenever I took photographs in settings with these kinds of lighting set-ups I would always get an orange tinge to my photographs and I would always wonder how to remove it and what the best white balance setting I should use.


ISO 100, 60mm, f/2.8, 1/30, WB daylight

The lamp is emitting an orange glow that is reflecting off the wall. The light is also very weak, with the right half of the photograph in shadow.

ISO 100, 60mm, f/2.8, 1/45, WB daylight, flash

The flash has lit the image greatly reducing shadow, although there is still a yellow glow on the lamp.

ISO 100, 60mm, f/2.8, 1/30, WB tungsten

Using a tungsten white balance has taken away the orange tinge on the lamp and gives it a much more natural look.


ISO 100, 60mm, f/2.8, 1/45, WB tungsten, flash

The bright light from the camera’s flash combined with the tungsten white balance has produced a blueish colour cast over the image. The camera’s flash has blown out the tungsten effect, because it is much brighter, and revealed the blue colour-casting of using tungsten white balance.  Freeman (2004) explains the effect of white balance on making an image appear as our eyes would see it. That the opposite colour needs to be added to a scene to make it look natural. For example, the orange glow from my lamp is neutralised by the blue tungsten white balance setting.

Setting the white balance to tungsten is an ideal way of eliminating the effect of the tungsten light. However there might be times when you would want to keep the colour-cast effect of the orange glow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s