This is all down to something called "colour temperature". Sunlight and artificial light are actually very different colours, but our eyes are so adaptable they filter the differences so our brains see everything clearly. Cameras are pretty advanced, but they’re nowhere near as complex as the human eye. They record things as they see them without all the clever stuff our eyes do. They’re also often set up for outdoor photography by default, which has a very different colour temperature to the lights in your house. Indoor lighting, for the most part, has a much more orange hue which is technically considered "warmer" than a sunny blue sky, which is considered "cooler" because of the colder look of the blue. The most neutral light is the bright midday sun, or light from a flashbulb, which appear almost white.
Colour temperature is measured on something called "The Kelvin Scale", which moves from the lowest rating - a "warm" fiery red that might be given out by candles, through the orange and yellow given out by domestic lights to the neutral white of midday sun. From here, the light moves up the scale to become a "cooler" blue shade of afternoon sun or a computer screen.
So, because your camera is making images of light as it really is, you sometimes need to make slight adjustments so the final image appears as the eye sees it, not the camera.
- If your camera allows you to set the white balance, the best way to adjust this is to set a manual balance in the place you are shooting. You can buy specialist white balance cards, which normally come in three shades - white, black and a special grey designed to be neutral for digital cameras. To use, you place the card under the lighting you’ll shoot in, zoom in until the card fills the frame and take the balance. Your camera documentation will tell you exactly how to do this, and the instructions with the card will explain more about when to use each one.
- Most cameras also feature several pre-set lighting modes, such as "daylight", "indoor" and "fluorescent" along side the "automatic" mode. Switching to the one of these which most closely matches your surroundings will produce better results.
Now you can get a nice warm feeling when your photos look even better.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.