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Correcting white balance of JPEG images

From: Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

Video: Correcting white balance of JPEG images

If you were shooting JPEG images, you'll still need to correct your white balance most likely, if you've been shooting in low light, unless you were able to get an accurate white balance while you were shooting. Unfortunately, you don't have as much latitude for white balance correction when you're working with a JPEG file, but in Photoshop, correcting white balance in a JPEG image is much easier than it used to be, because you can now actually do that in Camera Raw. Now that may sound little strange, but take a look at this. I have a JPEG of one of these images here in Bridge, and you can see that the white balance is definitely off. It's way too red.

Correcting white balance of JPEG images

If you were shooting JPEG images, you'll still need to correct your white balance most likely, if you've been shooting in low light, unless you were able to get an accurate white balance while you were shooting. Unfortunately, you don't have as much latitude for white balance correction when you're working with a JPEG file, but in Photoshop, correcting white balance in a JPEG image is much easier than it used to be, because you can now actually do that in Camera Raw. Now that may sound little strange, but take a look at this. I have a JPEG of one of these images here in Bridge, and you can see that the white balance is definitely off. It's way too red.

If I go up to the File menu in Bridge, there's an option to Open in Camera Raw-- or I can hit Command+R or Ctrl+R--and when I do that, this JPEG images is actually opened in the Camera Raw dialog box just as if there was a RAW file. However, some of these sliders don't work the same way as they would if I was working with a RAW file. For example, I have no highlight recovery, but I can use the white balance controls. So I'm going to grab the white balance dropper over here, and I'm going to do what I did before. I'm going to try and find something white or gray. I'm going to go with the white of an eye again and click right there and right away my image is pretty much there.

Now this is an image that worked very well; it's managed to clean up pretty handily. Not every JPEG image will. If the white balance is way off, you may find color shifts in one place or another. You'll also find that the way the sliders work, they are a little bit chunkier; they're a little more blunt. They don't have as many fine gradations. Most importantly though the big difference here between correcting this white balance in a JPEG and correcting white balance in a RAW file is that I've used up a bunch of image editing latitude here with this edit.

If I now go into Photoshop and try to do more edits, I'm going to start seeing posterizing and tone breaks much sooner than I would have with a RAW file. Nevertheless, I managed to save this image. Now I can go on with the rest of my editing.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light
Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

55 video lessons · 37486 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 2m 27s
    1. Welcome
      2m 27s
  2. 6m 20s
    1. What can you shoot in low light?
      2m 17s
    2. What you need for this course
      4m 3s
  3. 28m 54s
    1. Working with exposure parameters in low light
      1m 13s
    2. Working with image sensors in low light
      4m 35s
    3. Working with shutter speed in low light
      3m 3s
    4. Considering motion blur
      1m 14s
    5. Working with ISO in low light
      2m 29s
    6. Assessing your camera's high ISO capability
      4m 52s
    7. Working with in-camera noise reduction
      2m 4s
    8. Working with aperture in low light
      2m 10s
    9. Understanding dynamic range
      2m 2s
    10. Working with color temperature and white balance
      1m 11s
    11. Exposing to the right
      4m 1s
  4. 34m 39s
    1. Introduction
      1m 36s
    2. Talking with Steve Simon about low-light photography
      13m 46s
    3. Shooting by candlelight
      1m 55s
    4. Choosing a mode
      4m 34s
    5. Exploring the role of lens stabilization
      3m 1s
    6. White balance considerations
      3m 27s
    7. Flash considerations
      1m 18s
    8. Problem solving
      1m 35s
    9. Understanding aesthetics and composition
      3m 27s
  5. 30m 4s
    1. Introduction
      2m 20s
    2. Preparing for the shoot
      5m 25s
    3. Act I: adjusting to the light
      3m 48s
    4. Intermission: reviewing the strategy
      1m 53s
    5. Act II: moving to the back of the house
      2m 35s
    6. After the show: lessons learned
      1m 18s
    7. Reviewing the performance images
      12m 45s
  6. 19m 18s
    1. Shooting in the shade
      2m 55s
    2. Street shooting
      2m 52s
    3. Shooting flash portraits at night
      4m 5s
    4. Controlling flash color temperature
      2m 50s
    5. Adjusting exposure to preserve the mood
      2m 34s
    6. Dynamic range considerations
      4m 2s
  7. 41m 0s
    1. Shooting lingering sunsets
      1m 42s
    2. Exploring focusing strategies
      5m 17s
    3. Composing and focusing at night
      10m 42s
    4. Shooting the stars
      9m 27s
    5. Practicing low-light landscape shooting
      9m 55s
    6. Focusing on the horizon in low light
      3m 57s
  8. 13m 4s
    1. Light painting: behind the camera
      7m 34s
    2. Light painting: in front of the camera
      2m 13s
    3. Manipulating long shutter speeds
      3m 17s
  9. 1h 4m
    1. Correcting white balance
      8m 49s
    2. Correcting white balance with a gray card
      3m 50s
    3. Correcting white balance of JPEG images
      2m 0s
    4. Blending exposures with different white balances
      7m 13s
    5. Brightening shadows
      9m 8s
    6. Reducing noise
      7m 44s
    7. Sharpening
      9m 14s
    8. Correcting depth-of-field issues
      9m 32s
    9. Correcting night skies
      6m 39s
  10. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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