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Setting white balance

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 5

Video: Setting white balance

When you have a photo to process in Lightroom, often the best place to start is in the Basic panel on the right side of the Develop module. I've opened my Basic panel and as you can see, it's got three different sections. In many cases, you can just start at the top of this panel and work your way down through the various sliders. The first section of the Basic panel is the white balance section. The controls in this section can help you to neutralize an unwanted color cast in an image. So what is a color cast? Well here you can see an extreme example. The temperature of the light in which you shoot a photo can add a color that effects the entire photo. And sometimes you want that color cast for example if you're shooting a sunset. But sometimes it just doesn't look right as in this photo which was shot at dusk. And I think that the controls on my camera were fooled by the different temperature of the light inside the building and outside. If you start raw you have lots of lead way to fix the white balance. You can even fix white balance on a JPEG.

Setting white balance

When you have a photo to process in Lightroom, often the best place to start is in the Basic panel on the right side of the Develop module. I've opened my Basic panel and as you can see, it's got three different sections. In many cases, you can just start at the top of this panel and work your way down through the various sliders. The first section of the Basic panel is the white balance section. The controls in this section can help you to neutralize an unwanted color cast in an image. So what is a color cast? Well here you can see an extreme example. The temperature of the light in which you shoot a photo can add a color that effects the entire photo. And sometimes you want that color cast for example if you're shooting a sunset. But sometimes it just doesn't look right as in this photo which was shot at dusk. And I think that the controls on my camera were fooled by the different temperature of the light inside the building and outside. If you start raw you have lots of lead way to fix the white balance. You can even fix white balance on a JPEG.

Although you have less latitude when you're correcting color in a JPEG because its baked into the file. Now, there are several different ways that you can use the controls in the white balance section. I could just use the temperature intense sliders by dragging them. The Temperature slider goes from cool blue on the left toward warmer gold on the right. And the Tint slider is another color access from green toward magenta. So, let's see what happens if I drag the Temperature slider toward gold. When I do that the photo starts to look more natural. And if I think it needs a little magenta I can drag that slider too. So, that's not a bad result but there are a couple of other controls in the white balance section of the Basic panel that often come in handy. So, I'm going to go ahead and put these sliders back to their defaults by double clicking the WB for white balance header at the top of this section. And that will set the sliders just in the white balance section back to their defaults.

I'll start with this tool, the White Balance Selector, or I call it the Eye Dropper tool. This tool can help you to evaluate a color cast and also to fix it. When I click on this tool, I pick it up from its circle here. And I'll drag it over the photo. You can see that this large target comes along with it. And this target is telling me the RGB values, the red, green, and blue values of the pixels just underneath my eye dropper. Obviously pretty much anywhere I go in this image the B for blue is going to be higher than the R and G for red and green.

So, this confirms that there is quite a blue color cast anywhere in this photo. Now sometimes things aren't this obvious and that's when this tool helps to evaluate the presence of the color cast. If you want to dismiss that large target. You can come down to the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. You can actually change the scale of the chips in the target. Or, if you don't want the target at all, you can uncheck Show Loop. Another purpose of this Eyedropper tool, is to help correct color cast. So, what I'll do is look at the image, and find something I think should be neutral in color. Maybe these gray paving stones.

And then I'll click there. And that will set the pixels just under my Eyedropper to neutral. And all the other colors will fall into line around that one. So, that's not a bad result. If I want to try clicking somewhere else in the photo, then I need to go all the way back over to the Basic panel and pick up the Eyedropper tool again. And move into the image. And I could try clicking on something else that I think should be gray. Maybe here. Now if you don't like having to go back to the Basic panel every time you want to try another spot with the Eyedropper tool, you can get the Eyedropper tool.

And then go down to the toolbar and uncheck Auto Dismiss. And now the Eyedropper tool will stay out of its slot, and I can try clicking on several different places here until I get the result that I like. When I'm done with the tool, I'll place it back in it's spot in the Basic panel. There's another feature that I sometimes use when I'm trying to correct white balance. And that is this drop-down menu of white balance presets. As shot is the way the photo started right out of the camera. You can cycle through these until you find one that you like.

So, here's Lightroom's best guess as to what the white balance should be here. And there are some other presets that you can try out. And whatever you choose here, just changes the values of the Temperature Intense slider. I think I like Auto best here, and then I can always tweak these sliders, dragging them by hand. So, that's how to reduce an unwanted color cast in a photo using the controls in the white balance section of the Basic panel. And of course, that isn't all I would do to a photo like this, I would continue to go down through the controls in the Basic panel, as I'll show you how to do in this course.

And then, I would use some of the local adjustment tools, like the Adjustment Brush here. To enhance some local areas of this photo. For example, this overly saturated window here. All that's to come in the movies to follow.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lightroom 5
Up and Running with Lightroom 5

40 video lessons · 20887 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 22s
  2. 30m 31s
    1. Understanding catalogs
      4m 21s
    2. Organizing your photos before importing
      3m 10s
    3. Deciding where to store your photos
      4m 28s
    4. Importing photos from a drive
      8m 14s
    5. Importing photos from a camera
      10m 18s
  3. 1h 15m
    1. Library module workspace
      7m 21s
    2. Viewing and sorting photos
      6m 16s
    3. Selecting photos
      7m 9s
    4. Reviewing and rating photos
      8m 41s
    5. Organizing with collections
      6m 27s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      6m 21s
    7. Keywording
      4m 51s
    8. Finding photos by keyword
      5m 40s
    9. Finding photos with the Metadata filter
      4m 53s
    10. Moving files and folders
      7m 16s
    11. Renaming photos
      4m 18s
    12. Working with Smart Previews when traveling
      6m 6s
  4. 54m 18s
    1. Develop module workspace
      6m 14s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 25s
    3. Fixing perspective with Upright
      7m 19s
    4. Setting white balance
      4m 41s
    5. Using the histogram to evaluate tones
      4m 5s
    6. Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel
      8m 45s
    7. Fine-tuning colors in the HSL panel
      3m 35s
    8. Converting to black and white
      3m 56s
    9. Using virtual copies
      3m 43s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      3m 24s
    11. Sharpening
      4m 11s
  5. 26m 21s
    1. Targeting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 45s
    2. Spotlighting and vignetting with the Radial filter
      6m 0s
    3. Gradual editing with the Graduated filter
      4m 5s
    4. Removing dust spots with Spot Removal circles
      6m 12s
    5. Removing content with Spot Removal brushstrokes
      3m 19s
  6. 30m 40s
    1. Exporting photos
      9m 22s
    2. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 22s
    3. Sharing photos to Facebook
      5m 44s
    4. Printing photos
      9m 12s
  7. 26s
    1. Next steps
      26s

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