Digital Imaging

Grey Card White Balance

You can use grey cards as they can save you from the effort of finding neutral reference every time.

There can be nothing worse than taking photos with your buddies while enjoying the cold winter landscape only to find dull and drab photos later on.

Often the photos taken in winters produce this result with either a dull grey effect or a blue one. This basically is the issue when the camera’s white balance setting is faulty or inaccurate.

Now while you can adjust the settings to resolve the trouble. Let’s take a look at what actually causes it before heading on further.

White Balance Setting

As pointed out earlier, the culprit for the problem mentioned above is most likely to be caused by the camera’s faulty or wrong white balance setting.

If this is the case, you have to understand that the camera is actually interpreting the temperature of the light source and naturally the color of the photo will inevitably be mistaken.

White Balance Sunrise
White Balance Morning

Now if you want to capture the perfect white of the snow, you need to make your camera interpret colors, the way they really are. You can achieve this by using neutral reference.

Wondering what the neutral reference is?

Well, this is the hue that perfectly corresponds to the way the photographer views the white in the landscape.

Grey Card

For instance, if you are taking photos on a beach with dark rocks, bluish-grey water and a sky of almost similar color, you can use white shell or the breast of a seabird to let the camera know how it will interpret the white color.

Grey Card Images

Preferably you can use grey cards as they can save you from the effort of finding neutral reference every time.

Grey cards are readily available in the market and are used widely for letting the camera’s white balance know the way to interpret white as it should.

18% Grey Card


Suppose you are taking a photo of a white wall. The white balance setting of the camera, if you don’t use the grey cards is likely to misinterpret the color and will produce a pale grey sort of an effect in the photo.

People usually use the 18% grey card and then let the camera get trained to eventually interpret the color of the wall accurately. You can also tune the settings according to the way your camera reads the grey card.