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enter image description hereThere are times when I have taken pictures in a forest on a sunny day, and the light filtering through the leaves provides a nice green cast that I want to preserve. However, my Nikon Coolpix S9900 and Nikon D5500 always want to neutralize the cast. The solution doesn't seem as clear cut as selecting a different white balance setting from the D5500's Shooting Menu. And that seems like a somewhat cumbersome approach, even if there were to option to "preserve forest color cast".

Does anyone have suggestions that work and are simple to preserve the color cast in such situations?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have an example we can see? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 3, 2021 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately I can't provide an example, because the camera will always color correct for what I am seeing visually. ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – kenlist
    Mar 3, 2021 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Mar 4, 2021 at 18:05

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Try setting the white balance of the camera to "daylight" and see what you get. In film days that would have been the best answer for the scene because the other common option was Tungsten and that's not what you would want. If you want to go wild, try setting camera white balance to "cloudy" for comparison to "daylight." Or "shade." Automatic white balance is great for making generic pictures, but that's often not what you will want.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Mar 4, 2021 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes sense, and I'll try it once there are green leaves on trees (it's winter now). Accepting this answer. Thanks, all. \$\endgroup\$
    – kenlist
    Mar 5, 2021 at 16:13
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The easiest method is probably to put the camera into live-view and choose the white balance setting that looks the best to you... probably daylight or cloudy. This allows you to see exactly what the result will be.

Recording raw files will give you more leeway to edit the colors in post, but you do not have that option w/ the S9900. Either way, it is easier/better to get it as close as possible at the time you record the image (memory isn't that accurate).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ One needs to keep in mind that the ambient light in the environment when one is looking at the camera's LCD screen can strongly influence the perception of the colors on that screen. In an environment with a heavy green color cast, like a forest, the image will look different than when one looks at it on the back of the camera in a more neutral environment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 5, 2021 at 5:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Michael, ambient light color mixing is much less of an issue with light emitting images (LCD screens) than it is with light reflecting images (prints). Either way, it's better than guessing or letting the camera guess for you. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2021 at 14:03
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The most obvious solution is to set both Color Temperature and White Balance Correction manually.

CT adjusts along an amber←→blue axis.

WB adjusts along a magenta←→green axis.

The two axes are roughly orthogonal to the other.

Will you get it exactly the way you want it on your first try? Almost certainly not. But you need to start somewhere if you ever want to learn how you can tell the camera how you want a certain photo to look, instead of leaving it the other way around!

The best way to learn how adjusting CT and WB affect the colors in an image is to save your images in raw format, which is .NEF for Nikon cameras, and then play with the controls in your preferred raw convertor application.

As to keeping the green tint caused by green plants, you likely want to leave the magenta←→green adjustment at the neutral point. Your camera is applying a few ticks towards magenta.

From personal experience shooting a lot of high school field sports, I can confirm that I must use a significant amount of correction towards magenta to control the "greenish" skin tones on the legs of the athletes due to the light reflected up from the green grass. I then use the HSL tool (see below) to pull back magenta a little so that their faces, which are nowhere near as close to the grass and thus not getting as much reflected green light, don't get too pink. Under artificial lighting at night, the magenta adjustment in the HSL tool (along with reducing purple and even a little blue and red) also helps to eliminate the color cast from white jerseys, which are almost always made from synthetic fibers that "glow" under typical stadium lights. The camera sees this "glow" much more than our eyes do.

Here are a few links to existing questions and answers here at Photography SE to get you started:

What is color temperature and how does it affect my photography?
What is white balance in a camera? When and where should I use WB?
How do I find the right white balance value to set in my camera?
Why are high white balance temperatures redder when warmer objects are bluer?

Once you've gotten comfortable with CT and WB, you can then move on to learning how to use an HSL/HSB/HSV¹ (Hue-Saturation-Luminance/Brightness/Value) tool to fine tune specific color bands² around the color wheel.

1 You don't have to abuse the HSL tool to the point of eliminating all but one color as the examples in that link show in order to demonstrate the sheer power of the tool. Here is a question with another example of what the HSL/HAB/HSV tools can do.

2 The example at this link is much more subtle, yet shows just how much a few HSL adjustments can do to make the image look closer to what one expects. It's particularly useful when shooting under poor, limited spectrum lighting.

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