Manually Set White Balance for Weddings?


TPF Noob!
Mar 21, 2007
Reaction score
Greenwich, CT
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and I always set my white balance on auto when I shoot a wedding.. but when I go home to edit the pictures I spend soo much time white balancing them. I find it especially time consuming with pictures taken inside the church. I'm starting to wonder if it is better to manually set the white balance? I've heard a lot of photographers keep it at 5000K all the time. One of my professors told me to always keep it on cloudy. I know the best way to do it is to hold out a grey card and set it accordingly everytime you are in a new lighting situation, but during a wedding I just don't see myself having time to do this.
I've tried this, and had mixed results. I use an Expodisc for my custom WB, and it gives me excellent results, but the problem I've found with weddings is that if you're in a venue with lots of windows, the light is subject to change. It's fine if it's a dull, overcast day or bright, blue, cloudless sky, but any sort of scattered cloud and it's just as bad as using auto, worse I've found (Nikon). My rule of thumb is: No/small/very few windows or absolutely constant sky conditions, use a custom WB, any doubt, set auto and correct in post. Weddings are normally easy; just correct to the dress.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

I correct to the dress but when the bride has an off-white dress I find it especially difficult.. I think white balance is going to be the death of me
Then don't think of it in terms of white balance. Think of it in terms of ambient light temperature.

What software do you use to post process your photos? You're shooting RAW?

The best way to handle that in post processing is to shoot a calibrated, grey card or color checker with each lighting change, grab the white balance tool and click on the card in the photo.

I only know of 2:
  1. the WhiBal card from
  2. the ColorChecker Passport from
Last edited:
FWIW. I shoot auto wb. I used to obsess about it but vie gotten much better at making batch adjustMents in aperture. You learn to trust your own jUdgement and that real helps.
Do you shoot in RAW?
Yes I shoot in RAW and I edit in lightroom. I do as many batch white balance edits as I can, but I find that when i move around the church to get different vantage points the change in white balAnce between picture to picture can be quite drastic, because there is mixed light.
Light is and always will be a pain when it comes to indoor photography. You seem to be doing very well never the less...

Interesting name...Linked Ring? Did you start doing weddings first?
I haven't had many problems shooting weddings in auto WB, but it can be a very easy fix in PP. In LR3 for WB issues--use the eyedropper tool by the WB sliders, click on what's supposed to be white or black, fixed.
Light is and always will be a pain when it comes to indoor photography. You seem to be doing very well never the less...

Interesting name...Linked Ring? Did you start doing weddings first?

Thanks, the name Linked Ring Photography comes from the Brotherhood of the Linked Ring which was a group of photographers in England during the pictorial era who believed in "a means of bringing together those who are interested in the development of the highest form of Art of which Photography is capable". They wanted to show that there was a separation in the technical science of photography and photography as an art. They were trying to do more with photography than simply "snapping pictures" with a camera.
My Business partner Dan and I strongly agree with these beliefs and are interested in putting an artistic spin on commercial and wedding photography. In the future we are looking forward to putting more focus on our own art and exploring historical processes of photography. And as for weddings, the name Linked Ring Photography also has a double meaning.
Use this
it'll probably be the best $10 u ever spend :)
Couple of thoughts:

Many DSLRs have WB pre-sets to choose from (Daylight, Open Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Flourescent, Flash and Custom. If you use them, they should get you close. The key is to recognize the light color change and adjust.

Lighting varies a lot for weddings. Tungsten, Flouresence, Shadea and Full sun would be the most common. You need to assess the light as you go and adjust on the fly, based on the effect you're trying to create. For example church interiors look impressive using the Tungsten WB pre-set. However shooting a daylight pre-set under tungsten gives a warm feel. So you may want that effect. Your creative choice. In addition, you can shoot both - let the client decide.

I've watched photographers break out the calibration target to custom WB all day long. Who's got time for that. If the light is a mixture of many colors, then a calibration target is the answer and should be done.

I think the point is to be able to understand the color of the light and how does the color impact the creative process? Then how do you use your tools to achieve an end result.

The pre-sets may not give the exact end result, but it may make the adjustment process for a given light situation quicker and more consistent in image editing software. So using a Tungsten WB pre-set under interior lit churches may allow the same adjustment for all images shot under that lighting to get you there quickly for proofing, then fine tune for each final print.

Good luck!

Oh, by the way, I like your work!!
If you have time to see the venue before hand you could set(not sure how many custom WB setting you can have in your camera) but take a few grey card photos in areas you'll be shooting(as long as the lighting won't change for the event). name each one in your camera and you'll at least have a few preset WB in your camera before the shoot.
Biggest problem with an Auto WB > you can get two different results if you shoot two consecutive images in a church (for example).. then have to correct them both..
Keep it simple... shoot the entire wedding on RAW, Sunny WB. If you come across any tricky lighting, correct in post... batch correct in post, so all of the images at that place/time/lighting condition are the same. It is a personal choice whether you then create warm images, or cool images in post... this will be part of your own style.
Problem with white balancing from an ivory coloured dress >> I don't even want to imagine what skin colour the bride would get.... not a great suggestion ! You need to have the correct white balance set, so as to see the correct colour and tones of the lovely dress the bride has just spent thousands on !
Just a couple of things I thought I would point out...
Oh, and to simplify post processing.. buy a whibal... it gits in your pocket, and takes all of about 5 seconds to shoot a frame of in any given lighting condition... every wedding photographer has time to shoot a single frame in different lighting conditions to simplify and get perfect results every time.. best white balancing tool available in my opinion..

Most reactions