How to Adjust White Balance In Lightroom

Why should you care about White Balance? Because a proper white balance is how we get the colors in our images to be as accurate as possible. Why would you need to get the color right in your shots?  You might have noticed when examining shots after taking them that at times images can come out with an orange, blue, yellow etc look to them – despite the fact that when you were taking them the scene looked quite normal. The reason for this is that images different sources of light have a different ‘color’ (or temperature) to them. Fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast to photos whereas tungsten (incandescent/bulbs) lights add a yellowish tinge to photos.

We don’t generally notice this difference in temperature because our eyes adjust automatically for it. So unless the temperature of the light is very extreme a white sheet of paper will generally look white to us. However, a digital camera will need us to tell it how to treat different light.

Each digital camera will have a different way to adjust the white balance so check your manual for instructions on how to make changes. Having said this – many digital cameras have automatic and semi-automatic modes to help you make the adjustments.

Here are some of the basic White Balance settings you’ll find on cameras:

  • Auto – where your camera makes its best effort.
  • Tungsten – is for shooting indoors, especially under incandescent lighting such as bulb lighting.
  • Fluorescent – is for shooting in the presence of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
  • Daylight/Sunny – is a ‘normal’ white balance settings.
  • Cloudy – is for overcast days and and warms things up a touch more than ‘daylight’ mode.
  • Flash – the flash of a camera can be quite a cool light so in Flash WB mode you’ll find it warms up your shots a touch.
  • Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little.

Manual White Balance Adjustments

This is where you take control and tell the camera what is white using a reference point. You would do this by using a grey card. First take a shot with the grey card in the image. Then use that image to “set white balance” following your camera’s manual/ Then take a second shot of the location without the grey card and you will see that the image will have a much truer color cast.

If your camera has the option for shooing in RAW you can set your white balance during processing. I have created the video below to show you how to set proper white balance using Lightroom.

Happy Shooting!


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