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Creating a mood with White Balance

From: Enhancing a Landscape Photo with Lightroom

Video: Creating a mood with White Balance

The overall balance of color in a photo can have a big effect on the mood that the photo conveys. You may have White Balance controls in your camera, but those don't always give you the overall color balance that you expected. That's okay because you could control overall color balance with the white balance controls here in Lightroom in post-processing. You have the most latitude to do that if you shot a raw photo like this one rather than a JPEG, because with JPEGs the camera bakes in its own white balance settings, but with this photo we have all the latitude that we want to change the white balance to set the mood of the photo.

Creating a mood with White Balance

The overall balance of color in a photo can have a big effect on the mood that the photo conveys. You may have White Balance controls in your camera, but those don't always give you the overall color balance that you expected. That's okay because you could control overall color balance with the white balance controls here in Lightroom in post-processing. You have the most latitude to do that if you shot a raw photo like this one rather than a JPEG, because with JPEGs the camera bakes in its own white balance settings, but with this photo we have all the latitude that we want to change the white balance to set the mood of the photo.

To make the white balance adjustment I'm going to click on the Basic panel here in the Develop Module to open that panel. We'll be going through all of the settings in the Basic panel in this course. I usually approach these settings by starting at the top with the white balance. There are couple of different controls that you can use to set white balance. You can try the Eyedropper tool, but you get really variable results unless you have something really obvious that should be neutral in color in your photo. So I haven't had much luck with that tool practicing on this photo, instead I'm going to do something I often do, which is go to these presets for White Balance.

These presets set the numerical values for both the Temperature slider and the Tint slider. The Temperature slider goes from blue on the left or cool to warm on the right, gold, and the Tint slider goes from green on the left to magenta on the right. So the settings that you see here now are the settings with which this photo was shot and the way it came out of the camera. If we go to the Presets and we try something else maybe Auto we get a different look to the photo. Now that's obviously too warm, you can see that the Temperature slider has moved over to the right. Let's try another one.

Now I don't think Daylight looks too bad. It's a bit warm for my taste. So what I'd like to do at this point is just tweak this preset. I could come down and just drag either or both of these sliders or if I want to move these sliders in small increments, I'll click on the label of one of the sliders and then I'll use the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys on my keyboard to move the slider in small values. So right now for example, I see that the temperature is a little blue for my taste, I like to warm it up just a bit, so I'll press the Plus (+) key on my keyboard, and I think that's just about where I want it.

I would like to bring the tint down, so I'll click on the Tint Label and I'll use the Minus (-) key; and if I want to move a slider in even smaller increments I can click on its numerical value and then use the Up and Down arrow keys on my keyboard. So if I want to move the Tint slider over to the left toward green, I'll press the down arrow key on my keyboard several times until I like the way the live preview looks and then I'll press Return or Enter on my keyboard. Now keep in mind as you set white balance that there is no one right answer, there is no correct white balance.

The overall balance of color in the image is something that's very subjective. You can tweak it as you see fit to set the appropriate mood for a photograph. Also keep in mind that the particular numerical values that I chose for white balance and that I'll choose for all of the adjustments in this course aren't necessarily the ones that will look best on your monitor if you're working along with me on this photo, because your monitor is probably set a bit different than mine. So go ahead and follow the direction of my moves, but choose the values that look best to you on your monitor.

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Enhancing a Landscape Photo with Lightroom

13 video lessons · 6618 viewers

Jan Kabili
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