Getting the color right in your photos can be the easiest thing in the world if you are always satisfied with what the auto settings give you. Which is often quite close to what you want. Going that extra mile though and getting the colors precisely the way you like them can be the most difficult thing in photography.
You can drive yourself quite crazy in the quest for perfect color. The most important thing to have when you are on the quest for perfect color is to have a good quality monitor that you can rely on, then make sure you calibrate it properly.
However, the more normal amongst us aspire only to have a few nice photo prints from the inkjet and something that looks good on the screen.
The best way to work is to get as much right in the camera as you can, and keep the after work to a minimum (Post Production).
Before we can talk about how to control the white balance in your camera we need to know a little bit about color temperature.
Color temperature is measured in 'kelvins' formerly known as 'degrees kelvin'. To get the idea, think of a piece of metal being heated in a fire. First it gives off a reddish glow and, as it gets hotter, the color gets whiter and then, as it really warms up, it starts to give off a bluish glow. In Physics of course, we can't use any old bit of metal for the kelvin scale, we need a 'theoretical black object'. The photographer's color temperature chart is a loose interpretation of the kelvin scale, the numbers are not used in any precise manner.
As photographers all we need to know is that different types of light source emit different colors. 5000 kelvins is what photographers call white light and is represented by 'average daylight'. We also need to know that household bulbs give off an orange light and a cloudy day will appear blue.
When we look at objects with our eyes, we perceive white objects as white, and gray objects as gray, no matter what sort of light source we are viewing them by. This is because our brain is making the conversion for us. We 'know' that wall is white so we don't notice that it looks yellow at night (with the room lights on). If you really start to look you can see these color differences to some extent, but they are not as noticeable as they are to the camera.
Modern cameras have 'automatic white balance' so why can't we just leave it all to that? The AWB does do quite a good job but it isn't 100% accurate all the time. So sometimes we need to be able to do a few corrections ourselves. Click 'Next'.