Color is all around us, but the color that your eyes see can actually be different than what your camera lens sees. White balancing adjusts for these differences in order to make your photo look more natural.

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I’ve used an image of my son in the example above. As you can see, I was not very concerned about the white balance when I shot this image and the photo has that common yellow/orange tint to it. This “pick”-ture was more about future blackmail for my son.


In order to correct this photo’s white balance, we’re going to go into Lightroom’s Develop module and use the keyboard shortcut “W” to select the White Balance. You can also select the white balance manually from the basic tool panel on the right.

If you shot your image in raw, you will be able to select from your camera’s standard white balance settings. However, these standard settings are not always perfect, so I’m going to use the dropper tool (circled in red in the image below).


With the dropper tool, select a target neutral color in your photo (this neutral color should technically be about 18% gray, but gray or black will work well. Using white has mixed results). In this particular example, I’ve selected my son’s pupil, which provides a natural black color for white balancing.


After selecting this neutral color, Lightroom will automatically adjust your photo’s white balance settings accordingly. As you can see below, the white balance in the resulting image looks much more natural than in the original photo.

Now I have a marked this photo with a “pick” flag so I can show his future girlfriends. Happy white balancing!

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Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. I can’t get my brain around a “neutral color” having seen examples (for setting WB) cited anywhere between white and, here, black. How is either of these neutral, even though they seem to work. Martin Evening’s book suggests finding a tone with equal-more or less- R, G and B percent values on the pixel loupe that pops up when using the dropper.


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About gerardatphotofocus

Gerard has had a passion for photography since borrowing his Mom’s Pentax as a kid on family vacations. Later, Gerard turned this passion into Mosaic which he co-founded. Gerard grew Mosaic from a PowerPoint and a dream into a service used by tens of thousands of Lightroom users daily. He is also an avid Lightroom advocate and teacher of Lightroom tips and tricks. His Lightroom videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of photographers. Gerard has been featured on many national podcasts and large photography publications teaching Lightroom and talking about the future of photography. He has also been featured in Forbes Magazine as a young entrepreneur. Gerard lives in New Hampshire with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Caroline and son James. He shoots on a Nikon and uses Lightroom on both his Mac and PC.


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