Exercise; Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

This exercise is in two parts, looking at interior lighting.

For the first part I took the photos in a room with an incandescent lamp lighting the scene, but where the garden outside could also be seen. I waited until the light levels indoors and outdoors were about level and then took three photos; in the first with the white balance set to auto, the second with it set to incandescent and the third where it was set to sunlight.


The first gives a reasonable colour rendition of the garden outside and fairly represents the internal colours (although they are somewhat yellow). In the middle picture the internal colours are shown at their best, but the garden outside is rather bluish. The final photo has a very strong orange cast to the interior, but gives the best results for the outside colours.

The second part of the exercise was internally illuminated by a compact fluorescent light with the white balance at different settings. The white balance settings were as follows;

  • White fluorescent
  • Warm-white fluorescent
  • Day white fluorescent
  • Daylight fluorescent
  • Sodium vapour lamps


There is a considerable difference between these images with perhaps the first being the closest to true colours.


What have I learned from this exercise? I have struggled with the concept of white balance since I first got a digital camera, preferring to simply leave the settings on auto and hope the camera sorts it out. Having gone through these exercises I am now starting to understand it better and feel more confident about using other settings.

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