How to Set the White Balance on a Canon Rebel DSLR Camera

  • Thread starter JodyBuchanan
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May 10, 2021
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White balance is something that you’re probably not going to have to touch too often. Canon Rebel DSLR cameras are set to auto white balance (AWB) out of the box and for most of your photography, this setting is all you’ll need. Your camera will detect which temperature the light is in which you’re shooting and it’ll set itself to handle that temperature. What will it do? Well, your camera will attempt to make whites in your scene actually appear white. That’s the goal.

In today’s post, I’d like to quickly discuss a few areas of white balance. I’ll first cover how to set your Canon camera’s auto white balance (on the T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, T6i and T7i) and then I’ll move into changing that setting to one of the available white balance presets. Finally, I’ll explain how to manually set your camera’s custom white balance. After all, there are some instances that can confuse a camera and make it difficult for it to detect the proper necessary white balance on its own. I’ll talk about that down below as well.


How to Set Auto White Balance​

Setting auto white balance (AWB) on a Canon camera is extremely simple. All that needs to be done is for you to press the Q button that’s located on the back of your camera. Once that button is pressed, you’ll need to use the arrow keys on the rear of the camera as well to navigate to the white balance selection. Once that’s highlighted, you can press the SET button to enter the White Balance menu area.

q-button.jpg white-balance-menu.jpg

Once in that menu area, simply press the left or right arrow keys or use the dial that’s on the top of the camera to scroll to the left and right. When you highlight the AWB selection, press the SET buttons again to accept the change. When the change has been accepted and you return to the menu screen again, press the Q button to return to the active camera mode. It’s that easy.

By the way, for this post, I’m using the Canon Rebel T6i, but all of the cameras in the Rebel line are very similar in this regard.

Setting a White Balance Preset​

If, for some reason, your camera isn’t detecting the proper light temperature for the scene you’d like to shoot, you can manually tell it which temperature to choose based on one of its built in presets. In most of the cases when your camera is having an issue with detecting temperature, it’s because of a mixed lighting scenario, such as you being in the shade or in an area where there are two different temperature lighting sources at once. Think of using a warm flashlight in an office building that uses only florescent lights to light the room you’re in. This type of situation might cause an issue and your resulting photos might come out oddly colored if the wrong white balance setting is selected by your camera.

To select a preset, you’ll need to navigate back into the menu area I described above. Press the Q button and then highlight and select the white balance option. When you’re in the White Balance area, again, use the arrow keys or the dial at the top of the camera to make your selection.

Here are the options you’ll have to choose from:

Auto: Ambience Priority
Daylight: 5200k
Shade: 7000k
Cloudy: 6000k
Tungsten Light: 3200k
White Florescent Light: 4000k


To make your selection, you can either press the SET button like I described above or you can just roll over which one you want and do nothing. If you let the camera sit for a few seconds, it’ll accept whichever option is highlighted and return to the menu that preceded the one you’re on.

Setting a Manual White Balance​

When your camera can’t figure out what white is, you’ll need to tell it what it is. Setting a manual white balance with Canon cameras is fairly straightforward. The process is a step by step approach to taking a photo of something white and then pressing a few buttons on the camera. It’s really not much more than that. Let me what you though the process.

Okay, the first step for setting a manual white balance is to take a photo of something that’s white in your scene. It’s important that whatever it is you’re taking a photo of is actually white and that it’s in the same lighting as the lighting in the scene. This photo will be used for calibration in just a moment. For this step, a white board or white card is perfect.

After the photo is taken, you’ll need to press the MENU button that’s located on the back of your camera. Then, once the menu area has appeared, you’ll use the left and right arrows to navigate to the screen that contains the Custom White Balance option.


The next step is to select the white image that you just took from your scene. It should appear as soon as you press the SET button to enter the Custom White Balance area in your camera.


When you see your white image, press the SET button again. Then, when the menu appears, navigate to the OK option and press SET once more. After that is all done, exit out of the menu area and then press the Q button that’s on the back of your camera again. Head into the White Balance area and then scroll your way to the Custom option and press SET to accept that.


And that’s it! Essentially, you just told your camera what white is in your scene and then set your white balance to use that for your upcoming shots. The camera will take that information and adjust the temperature accordingly. Just be sure to set your camera back to AWB when you’re finished shooting or else any future shots will be discolored.

I hope I clearly explained how to set the white balance on you Canon Rebel DSLR camera. If you have any questions, please let me know down below in the comment section. You may also ask any question you’d like in the Canon Camera discussion board. Thanks for reading!

COMMENT: Is it necessary or even possible to delete the custom white balance you created after you are finished with a shoot?