How to Match White Balance to an Existing Photo on Your Nikon D5300

Consider the following scenario that calls for a feature on your Nikon D5300 that enables you to create a White Balance preset based on an existing photo. Suppose that you're the marketing manager for a small business and one of your jobs is to shoot portraits of the company bigwigs for the annual report.

You build a small studio just for that purpose, complete with a couple of photography lights and a nice, conservative beige backdrop. The bigwigs can't all show up to get their pictures taken in the same month, let alone on the same day. But you have to make sure that the colors in that beige backdrop remain consistent for each shot, no matter how much time passes between photo sessions.

Two words of caution:

  • Basing white balance on an existing photo works well only in strictly controlled lighting situations, where the color temperature of the lights is consistent from day to day. Otherwise, the White Balance setting that produces color accuracy when you shoot Big Boss Number One may add an ugly color cast to the one you snap of Big Boss Number Two.

  • If you previously created a preset using the direct measurement option, you wipe out that preset when you base a preset on an existing photo.

With those caveats out of the way, follow these steps to create a preset based on a photo:

  1. Copy the picture that you want to use as the reference photo to your camera memory card, if it isn't already stored there.

    You can copy the picture to the card using a card reader and whatever method you usually use to transfer files from one drive to another. Assuming that you're using the default folder names, copy the file to the 100D5300 folder, inside the main DCIM folder.

  2. Open the Shooting menu, highlight White Balance, and press OK.

  3. Select PRE Preset Manual and press the Multi Selector right.

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  4. Highlight Use Photo and press the Multi Selector right.

    The options appear. If you haven't yet used the photo option to store a preset, you see an empty white box in the middle of the screen. If you previously selected a photo to use as a preset reference, the thumbnail for that image appears instead.

  5. Select the photo you want to use.

    If the photo is already displayed on the screen, highlight This Image and press OK. Otherwise, highlight Select Image and press the Multi Selector right to access screens that let you scroll through your pictures. Highlight your choice and press OK. Your selected photo appears on the screen.

  6. Highlight This Image and press OK to set the preset white balance based on the selected photo.

Whenever you want to base white balance on your selected photo, just set the White Balance setting to the PRE option.

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