Always check the camera settings first

I had been wondering why many of my photos had a reddish or yellowish cast lately. I’m using a new camera, so I figured that it just worked differently. I adjusted the photos after the fact in Adobe Lightroom and got pretty good results. Then tonight I was taking some indoor shots in low light and the photos were just unreasonably red. Yeah, there was some red light in the club where I was dancing, but not that much red light. So I finally started fiddling with the camera to see what was wrong. Of course, it was the most obvious thing: the white balance was set to a preset value instead of to automatic. How it got set that way, I don't know. To be honest, I don’t even know how long it’s been like that.

Well, the very first photo I took after setting the white balance to automatic was simply amazing. Not only was the color spot-on perfect, but the camera picked up light and color that simply weren’t visible to the naked eye. Despite having been taken in a poorly lit nightclub, the photo looked like it had been taken during daytime at a café or restaurant. Of course I took a bunch more photos once I got the settings right!

The silly thing is that I took dozens of photos before bothering to check the settings. Yeah, they can be fixed in the computer, but it requires a bit of guesswork and the results are often inconsistent. Next time, I must remember to check the settings before I start taking pictures.

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