Wildlife photographer Paul Hobson and three AP readers explore the possibilities of studio-based macro in our macro still life masterclass

White Balance

One of the key things to think about when shooting your images is your motivation for doing so. Are you looking to document your subjects or are you attempting to produce something a little more creative? If the photographer is looking
to create something a little more abstract, then the camera’s white balance setting can be employed to alter the colours of the images.

‘When shooting you should think about how you want to represent colours in your images,’ says Paul. ‘If you’re looking to document your subjects in a straightforward way, then you want the colours to be as natural as possible. In that case it is better to leave your camera on auto white balance.’

However, white balance can also be used as a creative tool. Experimenting with different white balance settings can
dramatically alter your shot and give your images a colour cast that you wouldn’t normally see in the natural world.

Photo by Alan Wilson

‘Doing something as simple as setting your camera to cloudy white balance can produce some interesting results,’ says Paul. ‘That setting will push up and saturate the reds.’

An alternative is to set your white balance manually using the numbers rather than symbols (not all cameras
are capable of this function and users should check their camera’s manual).

‘I generally leave my camera set to 6000K [Kelvin] all the time,’ says Paul. ‘That’s like the cloudy setting plus a little
more. It gives you a quite saturated image. It’s important to understand that the numbers represent colour temperature. Very low numbers such as 3,500-4,000K give you a very blue cast on your image. At the top end you have 6,000K, which will give you a very orange or red cast. You have to experiment.’

  1. 1. Macro Still Life Masterclass with Paul Hobson
  2. 2. Objects
  3. 3. Lighting
  4. 4. Backlighting, Rim Lighting and Silhouettes
  5. 5. Composition
  6. 6. White Balance
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