In this video I demonstrate how to custom white balance a DSLR like the Canon T2i.

I noticed in my last video that I shoot at night looked really bad (orange tint color to my face) compared to the previous tutorial that I shot with day light, so I thought I would try to improve a little and white balance the T2i this time. To really show a dramatic before and after difference I shot this one in really low light.

This video demonstrates the steps I go through to white balance before shooting a video (movie mode).

I learned these steps from AngeloDavidKevin in a comment he provided on one of my videos hosted on Vimeo. I gotta say the community on Vimeo rocks! Everyone over there has been extremely helpful providing with tips and ideas to improve my videos.

The steps to custom white the 550D T2i for movie mode are:

  • Take a picture of a white object – fill the entire frame with white
  • Menu: 4th tab says ‘custom WB’
  • Choose the white picture
  • Click on Set
  • Go to movie mode
  • Click the quick menu button and cursor over to WB and change it to the custom setting

I am still struggling with exposure. I think I will do a tutorial on that soon, but if anyone has any requests let me know what I should learn/test next.

This is from Steve Crow:

Hey Dave, I was trying to white balance my T2i for Video (not stills) and it was unclear to me exactly what you were doing so I put together this list of steps – let me know if I got anything wrong or out of order:

1. In Photo Mode – take a picture of a white object (white should fill the screen)

2. Switch over to video mode

3. Press DISP button (display) twice or until the big list of icons is displayed

4. Press the Q/Printer Button to highlight the top white balance icon

5. At the bottom of the screen, see the first of the white balance options,

6. Turn the scroll wheel until it says custom and press set

7. Press Menu Button

8. Navigate to 4th Icon and select “Custom White Balance” – it should show you the still image of the white object you photographed earlier

9. Press Set button

10. “use WB data from this image for Custom WB” – select OK and Set button

11. Get out of Menu mode and into Live View and confirm that the white balance is now correct


  • Hi Dave

    Excellent stuff. Thanks so much for making this…
    Got my T2i (550D here in Europe) a few weeks ago, so I’m hanging on every word and picture.

    My main interest is also in shooting video, but obviously the knowledge gained from shooting stills, will be really helpfull. Your white balance video seems to illustrate that perfectly…

    Thanks again – I’ll check back every day:o)

    Kind regards,

  • I appreciate your blog, Dave. Keep up the good work and teach us while you learn. I don’t have the T2i just yet but when I do, I’ll sure be eager to learn this stuff too!

  • So do you have to set the white balanced every time you take picture or shot video based on the lighting? For example, if I’m in my house shooting video under tungsten light I need to set my WB with a poster board, do I then need to repeat the process if I go outside and film in the afternoon sun?

  • Lencho,

    Others might be more qualified to answer this question, but I would say you don’t have to do custom white balance every time, you can use the presets that come with the camera and see if they work, but for me when I have a mix of light sources then I might custom WB.

  • Often if you’re indoors, you’re using under Tungsten (orange) light, so I’d just set your WB to Tungsten if everything is lit mostly by artificial light. If it’s daytime and you’re not using much artificial light, i’d just use auto or daylight. Only certain places use flourescent white balance (the long lights that put off a greenish tint). It’s probably best to take some test shots in your location and dial in all your settings first before shooting.

  • I really enjoy learning from you on your tutorials. I too am new to the Canon T2i and being a creative person, we learn faster from watching from others and getting my hands on experience. Rather, than reading the manual which I probably lost in my pile of junk on my desk. I just want to thank yo for the great job you are doing. Keep up the good work.

  • White balancing requires more than just pointing the camera at something white and pressing some buttons. A lot of things affect white balance, so we need to be aware of them. First, what is white? I see a lot of people using an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper to use as a reference for white balance. Most office paper contains some blue in it to make it appear brighter/whiter. So using that that type of paper as a reference is not going to produce accurate results. Second, you should be setting the exposure first. Dave’s instructions on using an 18% gray card are a good idea. And yes, you can white balance with that 18% gray card. White balancing does not require seeing something white. Third, white balance often. Light is often changing. Outdoor lighting can range from 3000K to 10,000K, and it changes depending on time of day, whether it’s overcast, etc. Even in fixed lighting conditions, the white balance can vary. Indoor lighting can often be mixed, so setting up zones with know white balance values can be helpful. And then you can change your custom white balance by selecting a picture you took in that zone, and repeating Steve Crow’s custom white balance instructions posted above.

  • Please tell me you charged that darn battery, the blinking was driving me crazy.
    I guess I’m just anal like that.
    Another excellent and informative tutorial, Thank you for the time and effort.
    I am learning so much.

  • there are lots of white balance cap in the market. do you think those caps works well ?
    reply please.

  • dave sir.. in canon 550D movie mode 1920 X 1080 25fps and 24 fps, the recorded movie got frames dropped. But in 1280 X 720 50fps the frames are perfect. how to solve this…..

  • Hi brother Dave,
    do i have to shoot the white paper and change the custom white balance every time? Indoor, outdoor, under light… do i need to re-shoot and re custom white balance?
    or i could just use that one click of white peace of paper?

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