This week's lesson was about "the color of light", or how different lightsources can effect the overall color of a photo. Depending on the time of day, pictures taken outside will have a different color cast. In the morning, pictures will have a soft yellow tint, taken at midday will have a cool bluish tint, and taken in the evening will have a warmer orange tint. Shooting indoors using artificial light is where most problems with color come in. Most homes have incandescent lighting which gives off an ugly yellow/orange tint in pictures. Here is a picture where that is really obvious. It was taken in our bathroom, which has no windows.
I usually take care of this problem using a photo editing program (like I did below), however this week's lesson taught me how to change the "white balance" on my camera to compensate for the artificial lighting.
The homework was to take a picture of something in "auto white balance" mode. In this mode, the camera will decide what kind of lighting you're in, and adjust itself.
Then "tell" your camera what kind of lighting you're in to help it adjust. Since I was indoors, I chose the "incandescent white balance" mode, and this is what I got. You can see there's less of a yellow tint.
Then take another using the "custom white balance" mode. To do this, you take a picture of something white, like a sheet of white paper, and set it as the white balance. Below is my picture of a white sheet of paper. You can see how the light has affected it, it's pretty much gray. By setting this as the white balance, you're basically telling your camera that this is supposed to be white, so it knows how to adjust.
Here is the picture I took using the "custom white balance". It looks pretty similar to the previous one, but I think it looks a little more natural. I think the difference would have been more obvious I'd taken it at night with no natural light coming through the window.
From now on when I'm shooting inside, I will definately use the white balance features instead of editing after the fact.