Colors, Temperatures, & Tints! These are all things that make up "White Balance".
It can all get so confusing and can sometimes take what should normally be a fun activity and turn it into a frustrating one. This tutorial will take some of the frustration away by teaching you how to quickly and easily fix white balance in Lightroom!
How to Fix White Balance in Lightroom
White balance is the color temperature of an image, as it was captured by your camera. So, why isn't the white balance perfect every time?
It's because your camera is not able to read the color of light like it can the strength of light. Your camera needs YOU to tell it what to do—what the color of the light is like in a setting, so it can compensate accordingly.
For this tutorial, we are going to assume that auto white balance was used and your image is slightly too cool, or that a cloudy or shade option was used in camera and the image is too warm. Problems with white balance are almost always one of those two: Too Cool or Too Warm.
3 Ways to Adjust White Balance in Lightroom:
- Using the Lightroom eye dropper
- Lightroom white balance preset options
- Manually adjust temperature and tint in Lightroom
1. Using the Lightroom Eye Dropper
Click the eye dropper icon in the Basic panel. Then, move the eye dropper to a part of your image that is neutral, meaning a place where the RGB (red, green, blue) values are very close to each other, to try and find a neutral spot to use as the new target neutral. As you hover over an area, a box will show up with the RGB color values in the bottom.
A good place to start with is the whites of the eyes, then the teeth, then something that should be neutral like a white or tan, even something gray like clothing, cement, etc.
While you are looking for the right spot, as you move around the image you will get a preview of what the white balance will be in the Navigator panel. The white balance will not change until you click your mouse, so take your time to find the right spot. If you do click and then decide the new white balance is not quite right, you can do it all over again.
2. Lightroom White Balance Preset Options
Most all digital cameras have these white balance options that you can set in-camera: Auto, Flash, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten, Florescent, and Kelvin. If you chose one of the special white balance options in-camera that is A-okay. If you chose to use auto white balance, that is perfectly fine too.
But what do you do if the white balance option you chose in-camera (any of the options) is causing your white balance to not look quite right?
You can just choose another white balance option in Lightroom - you will find the same white balance options there! For example if you used cloudy in camera but the image came out too warm, you can try Tungsten, which is a cooler white balance setting to balance out the warmth.
You can simply click each white balance preset until you find one that works for your image!
Keep in mind you might find one that works fairly well but is still too cool or too warm or too green, etc. If that is the case, you will need to make some simple adjustments to the temp or tint sliders to find the perfect white balance (covered below).
3. Manually Adjusting Temp and Tint Sliders
Sometimes the image just needs a little tweaking, nothing major! If you can quickly identify the problem with the white balance, say your image just a tad too cool, you can simply click the temp slider and gently move it towards the yellows. Or, if the image seems to have a bit of a green tint to it, slowly move the tint slider toward the magenta side.
Sometimes the change in white balance is subtle; sometimes it is drastic. It really all depends on the individual image and what white balance setting was used in-camera.
For the image I used in this example, the change is subtle, but noticable. Initially the image was a tad cool, but with a slight white balance adjustment in Lightroom it is now soft and warm.
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