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White balance is a still and video photography technique that attempts to render neutral tones correctly, that is, gray, achromatic (without color) where white must be accurate. Otherwise, displayed image colors may differ significantly from the original scene’s colors.
White balance also references gray or neutral balance.
White balance is often achieved in digital still photography by photographing a white sheet of paper in the ambient light of the subject location, setting parameters to maintain neutral tones and keep white colors white in subsequent photographs. Thus, the purpose of white balance is to maintain neutral tones.
Color balance, an associated term, is the correction of various ambient lighting conditions. Data-transforming algorithms do not always clarify separate color correction or balancing elements while in process. In addition, the goal of color balancing is not always consistent; that is, some processes (for example, white balance) produce accurate renderings of original scenes or subjects, whereas other processes aim to produce a pleasant rendering. These differences often create difficulty in defining the process of achieving either white or color balance.