Canon 7D, Using a Custom White Balance

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Throughout this book, I’ve discussed several of the white balance settings and when to use them. One white balance setting I haven’t covered in detail is the Custom setting. Sometimes the presets on your camera won’t be 100 percent accurate. For example, you might use the Daylight setting outside on a sunny day, but the color and quality of the light will be different at noon than they will be at 7 p.m. The Daylight white balance setting will get you to a good starting point, but you’ll need to go through a few simple steps to achieve as much accuracy as possible.

The only piece of equipment you need to do this, other than your camera, is something you can point your camera at to measure the temperature of the light. These devices come in many shapes, sizes, and prices; one inexpensive option is a basic 8-by-10-inch 18 percent gray card. You can fi nd these at most camera stores and they don’t cost very much—plus they do the job well. But you don’t need to purchase anything to set this up—you can always use a plain white piece of paper, or anything with a plain white surface. The color won’t be as accurate, but it should get you really close.



  1. Place the gray card in the light you will be photographing your subject in. Position the card in front of the camera so that it fi lls the entire frame, focus manually, and use a balanced exposure. Then press the Shutter button and take a picture.
  2. Next, press the Menu button and use the Main dial to get to the second shooting tab. Use the Quick Control dial to scroll down to the Custom WB menu item (A), and then press the Set button.
  3. Use the Quick Control dial to scroll to the photo of the gray card you just took. Press the Set button and select OK (B).
  4. If your white balance is not already set to Custom, you will get a reminder on the next screen. If this happens, press the Set button and set your white balance to Custom.

Now your camera should have the proper white balance for the light you are currently working in. Don’t forget to change it when you move to a location with different lighting!


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