How-To Geek

Understanding Photography and Color Temperature

Most digital cameras have the ability to set the “color temperature” based on the condition, but what exactly does that mean? This simple cheat sheet highlights the differences between various lighting situations and what settings you should use.

Courtesy of Digital Camera World, the above chart shows where on the scale various color temperatures fall, how the automatic white balance works, and which presets you should use if available.

What Is Color Temperature? [via Unpluggd]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/31/12

Comments (3)

  1. Danny

    There’s a pleasant irony in ‘warm’ colours being colder (2000K) than ‘cold’ colours (10,000K).

  2. Dinyar

    Danny, that has caused me no end of confusion! I thought I was wrong in my thinking, because it just did not make sense. Scientific vs superficial human observation–the later wins every time!

  3. Hernan

    The reason being for this, that is not explained at all, and is what causes the confusion, is that the “temperature color” is defined as “the color of the light emitted by a piece of iron, heated at X degrees Kelvin”; the hotter the iron is (the higher the temperature), the clearer the light will be (from reddish to blue and clear white), against the “warmth the light gives to the picture taken”.
    When scientific facts are posed without explanation, it may look like sorcery or obvious contradiction… it would be good if some relevant extra information is given on an article.


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