The White Balance Myth Solved

white balance myth solved

Are you the kind of person that just takes others words for it?

Or maybe you like to figure out things yourself for a deeper understand.

Well, that was me! When I started out with newborn photography I couldn’t for the LIFE of me figure out how those “rock star” newborn photographers got that beautiful pink/peach newborn skin. What was their secret? Was in it photoshop, did it come straight out of the camera like that? Did they have a magic wand?

I quickly did my own research and figured out from a few forums and groups it was a little old thing called… white balance. There were of course other elements in creating  the perfect photo formula but white balance, I heard, was a huge factor.

Being a girl that likes to keep things simple I could give you the full correct photo lingo definition of white balance, or just tell you that, by getting correct white balance for your newborns you are making sure the whites are whites and all the other colors that are supposed to be the true color will be their true color, like skin! If that doesn’t satisfy you then go ahead and click here and you can read until your hearts content about white balance.

Now there are several ways to take a white balance of your set up and depending on if you are using natural light or artificial light you might be swayed one way or the other.  I needed to solve this white balance myth to see for myself which tool or method I would use with my new studio lights.  Even if you don’t use studio lights you can try these set up and see which one you like for yourself. This post isn’t about how to use the tools but what they produce. Hopefully by seeing these examples you’ll be able to really see how different tools will give you different results, now you just have to choose the result you like for YOUR work.

Sometimes by working backwards and choosing the result first, then learning how to achieve it will get you to your result faster. It has helped me in my journey, I hope it helps you.

I strongly suggest to play around with your white balance with your set up space, decide how cool or warm you like your images. There is no wrong or right, that’s the great thing about art and photography.  If you decide for yourself, you make it your own which builds confidence in your work and gives you more depth of your why in your art.

coffee fiterExpoImaging_EXPOD82_ExpoDisc_82mm_Digital_White_358075kelvin white balanceimage 52

Quick Side Note about WB: White Balance is a menu setting in your camera, you can read your manual for instructions based on the model of your camera. In camera you can set your Auto WB (white balance) or Kelvin (a measurement of temperature in photos).  With the expo disc and coffee filter method (yes, I mean a REAL coffee filter you’ll use the  custom WB method). The method is the same for both and you can view a how the expo disc works here.

Below are the 4 examples of white balance methods I used in my experiment to solve the myth.


Notice how the “warmth” of the image increase with the different methods from Auto to Kelvin. I used the same setting in each image and I was using my Alien Bee400 light with a 64inch PLM umbrella.

What tool do you think you like better?

Do you like cooler images or warmer images?

Isn’t it fun to have freedom to decide?

I’d love to chat with your more about white balance, which tools I’ve used and love and which ones I don’t.  If you’re still not sure and you need help deciding for yourself, I’m your girl too!  Feel free to shoot me an email or connect through social media at the link below.

Happy Snapping,

Malia B

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Malia Battilana


It’s an honor to be photographing the world’s newest little human beings. It takes that special touch, patience and a pure love. She believes emotional connection makes for influential newborn portraiture and that anyone seeking that, can find it.

Malia lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with her most supportive husband and her 3 fun-loving children. As the owner of Malia B Photography, she photographs the cutest babies in the Valley of the Sun.