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Correcting white balance with a color checker

From: Lightroom 4 Essentials: 02 Enhancing Photos with the Develop Module

Video: Correcting white balance with a color checker

One of the ways that you can expedite your overall white balance and color correction workflow is by including something neutral in one of your initial frames. In other words, you can include something like this colorchecker passport, or maybe a gray card, or some sort of a colorchecker card which has some neutral qualities to it. In this case, I objectively know that there are few patches here on the right-hand side of this chart which are neutral. I can sample or select those in order to objectively white balance this image.

Correcting white balance with a color checker

One of the ways that you can expedite your overall white balance and color correction workflow is by including something neutral in one of your initial frames. In other words, you can include something like this colorchecker passport, or maybe a gray card, or some sort of a colorchecker card which has some neutral qualities to it. In this case, I objectively know that there are few patches here on the right-hand side of this chart which are neutral. I can sample or select those in order to objectively white balance this image.

Then I can apply that white balance to the other photographs which are captured in this same lighting situation. Now this strategy works really well when you're shooting in the studio, or even if you're shooting outdoors. Let's say you are shooting in open shade light, well again, in the initial frame, have a colorchecker chart, white balance it, and apply it to the other images which were also captured in open shade. All right. Well let's take a look at how we can do this; it's really simple. We choose the White Balance tool, and then we will go ahead and hover over this little color chip here that we know should be neutral, and we will click on that.

That will then color correct that chip. The next step, of course, will be to select the other photographs that we want to white balance. Click on your first one, hold down the Shift key, click on the last image, and then at the base of the Basic panel over here, or the panels on the right, I should say, you will see there's a Sync button. It says Sync... Whenever you see dots in Lightroom, it tells you, if you click on this, you're about to see a menu. Here, we can synchronize settings. We can choose Check All to apply all of the different settings we have inside of the Basic panels, and the panels on the right, or we can check None, and then just determine one option.

In this case, all we need is White Balance, right? So we will check on that option there, and then click Synchronize. This will then white balance all three of these images, so that they're now all color correct, and have the same exact temperature, and tint, and color white balance. What's great about this is it just takes out so much of the guesswork. Typically, this is all that you'll need to do in order to color correct your images. Yet, I don't want to stop there, and I don't want to stop there because sometimes what you want is objective color.

Other times, you may want to tweak it just a little bit. In order to tweak the color, in order to make a subjective change, you can use these Temperature and Tint sliders, and just drag and change them. For example, I'm going to take my Temperature slider down a little bit. This is going to make the image a bit more cool. Let's say for this shoot, rather than having it neutral, I want it just a little bit cooler than neutral. Well, again, I can determine what that is here, and I can set that up in this way. Now, I do have to point out that this can be a little bit of a slippery slope, because when you're making those subjective adjustments, it really depends on how well your monitor is calibrated; how well you can see that color.

Yet, that being said, there still will be times where you will want to make those adjustments, and you can use those sliders in order to make adjustments to correct, or to even modify the color in your photographs. Why I point all of this out is because sometimes, you know, neutral color isn't necessarily the best color. Sometimes, as we've talked about before, you may be embracing having a little bit of a warmer tone, or maybe a little bit of a cooler tone. And again, that's part of the art of photography, the art of scene, the art of working on your images, and I just need to highlight that here to point out that you can make those adjustments on your own, working with these sliders.

All right. Well, that being said, typically what you'll do is just sample the point on the card, and then apply that to other images, and you'll be good to go. Yet again, I just want to point out kind of this whole process, so that you have all of this information, and all of these techniques, so that you can arrive at the best color correction for your photographs.

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This video is part of

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  1. 2m 1s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      44s
  2. 22m 4s
    1. Develop module overview and essential shortcuts
      4m 13s
    2. Panel navigation tips
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Develop module presets
      3m 32s
    4. Creating your own presets
      4m 1s
    5. Using the Snapshot and History panels
      3m 40s
    6. Working with the tool strip
      1m 45s
  3. 15m 20s
    1. Working with legacy Lightroom files
      6m 53s
    2. Viewing the before and after
      4m 29s
    3. Comparing and surveying images
      3m 58s
  4. 19m 42s
    1. Understanding white balance and color temperature
      2m 43s
    2. Using the White Balance Selector tool
      4m 22s
    3. Correcting white balance with a color checker
      3m 52s
    4. Working with white balance presets and fine-tuning white balance
      4m 24s
    5. Color correcting multiple images at once
      2m 42s
    6. Creativity and white balance
      1m 39s
  5. 23m 5s
    1. Getting familiar with the tone controls
      3m 19s
    2. Deconstructing the tone controls
      5m 39s
    3. Using the tone controls to enhance photographs
      5m 28s
    4. Correcting clipping with the tone controls
      4m 53s
    5. Synchronizing tonal adjustments with multiple images
      3m 46s
  6. 22m 31s
    1. Understanding vibrance and saturation
      5m 6s
    2. Working with vibrance and saturation
      5m 38s
    3. Color creativity with temperature, vibrance, and saturation
      3m 19s
    4. Understanding clarity
      2m 34s
    5. Using clarity in collaboration with vibrance and saturation
      5m 54s
  7. 10m 37s
    1. Basic panel workflow
      3m 38s
    2. Using Auto Tone
      1m 42s
    3. Workflow considerations
      5m 17s
  8. 18m 27s
    1. Cropping
      3m 29s
    2. Changing the crop aspect ratio
      1m 47s
    3. Straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 49s
    4. Working with the crop overlay
      3m 4s
    5. Crop creativity and orientation
      2m 36s
    6. Synchronizing crop settings
      2m 36s
    7. Exploring how to improve the composition of your photographs
      2m 6s
  9. 15m 55s
    1. Retouching with the Spot Removal tool
      8m 26s
    2. The Spot Removal tool: Clone versus Heal
      4m 56s
    3. Fixing red-eye
      2m 33s
  10. 16m 43s
    1. Introducing the Graduated Filter
      5m 14s
    2. Darkening the sky with the Graduated Filter
      6m 10s
    3. Enhancing a sunrise with the Graduated Filter
      5m 19s
  11. 45m 51s
    1. Adjustment Brush overview
      7m 45s
    2. Using Auto Mask
      5m 55s
    3. Burning and dodging a black-and-white image
      6m 44s
    4. Reducing noise
      5m 40s
    5. Minimizing moiré patterns
      3m 18s
    6. Painting in localized sharpening
      2m 14s
    7. Improving the eyes
      4m 6s
    8. Dimishing a distracting highlight
      3m 42s
    9. The Adjustment Brush and Basic panel workflow
      6m 27s
  12. 15m 38s
    1. Demystifying the Tone Curve controls
      5m 5s
    2. Using the tone curve to correct exposure
      2m 16s
    3. Changing tone and color with the the point tone curve
      3m 39s
    4. Making creative RGB adjustments
      4m 38s
  13. 13m 36s
    1. Understanding the HSL controls
      4m 4s
    2. Using the HSL Target Adjustment tool
      1m 40s
    3. Brightening tones with HSL
      3m 21s
    4. Using HSL to bring out warm and cool tones
      1m 47s
    5. Creative color with HSL
      2m 44s
  14. 36m 35s
    1. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      2m 38s
    2. Converting to black and white
      2m 16s
    3. Modifying black-and-white tones with the Grayscale panel
      5m 26s
    4. Enhancing black-and-white images with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 4s
    5. Using presets to convert to black and white
      5m 13s
    6. Black-and-white workflow with virtual copies
      5m 29s
    7. Black-and-white images and collections
      4m 22s
    8. Creating better black-and-white photographs
      2m 7s
  15. 14m 2s
    1. Split-toning essentials
      3m 34s
    2. Advanced split-toning tips
      2m 44s
    3. Split toning a color image
      3m 5s
    4. Split toning to create a sepia-tone effect
      2m 22s
    5. Using split toning to enhance a sunrise
      2m 17s
  16. 12m 21s
    1. Introducing noise reduction
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding sharpening
      5m 2s
    3. Sharpening workflow
      2m 9s
  17. 13m 35s
    1. Using the Lens Correction controls
      1m 56s
    2. Correcting distortion
      2m 45s
    3. Making subtle adjustments to composition and tone
      4m 10s
    4. Removing fish-eye distortion
      3m 18s
    5. Removing chromatic aberration
      1m 26s
  18. 12m 55s
    1. Adding and correcting vignettes
      2m 24s
    2. Using the Post-Crop controls
      4m 5s
    3. Adding a post-crop vignette
      4m 26s
    4. Working with film grain
      2m 0s
  19. 5m 34s
    1. Understanding camera calibration in Lightroom
      3m 20s
    2. Creative color with camera calibration
      2m 14s
  20. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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