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My Whites are Gray and not White


I have a Nikon 3200. I have my setting on manual. I have it on
white balance. The problem is that my whites are not white but
gray. I have used the gray card to try to get the right color.

Thank you


  • This is likely an exposure metering issue. The meter will try to make the average of a whole scene into neutral gray. That means that if you have a lot of white (a snow scene, for example) it will underexpose to turn the snow gray, or if you have a lot of black (a black cat in shadow, for example) it will overexpose to turn the cat gray.

    For this reason, even if you are getting the right white balance from a gray card you may have to overexpose a high key scene to get the whites white, or underexpose a low key scene to get the blacks black.

    If you're shooting in manual mode, you must disable auto ISO in order to violate the meter's recommendation. If you're shooting in P, S or A mode, you can use the exposure compensation. For fairly radical color imbalance it's not that unusual to need a couple of stops of compensation.

    Depending on the dynamic range of a scene, you may or may not be able to get your whites white without getting your darks too dark. It's a good idea to try several different exposures to find the right compromise. If you shoot in Raw mode, you can do exposure compensation in post, and can pull up dark shadows fairly easily. Try to get the exposure so that the whites are white but just shy of blowing out, and lift shadows as need be. If you're doing something like people on a beach, you may need a fill flash to brighten the people up.

    But remember too that a photograph will often see whites as a little bluer and less pure than our eyes do. Some of that will be unavoidable.

  • Thank you so much for your valuable information.

    humbledude - Matthew 6:33
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