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How to Adjust White Balance

Have ever wondered why the photos you clicked on the beach do not have the sunset as golden as it was there. Similarly, are you tired of getting blue shades in your photos even when the light was perfect while shooting?  One main reason for all of such problems is the incorrect white balance at moment. The colors of your photo will only turn out to be good if the white balance is correct. Understanding the concept of white balance is essential in order to excel as a photographer. In this article, we will discuss how to adjust white balance while using the camera and as well as while editing in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Understanding the Color Temperature

Firstly, let us understand the concept of color temperature and how does it work. Light has a spectrum from cold to warm. The color temperature of a photograph is a specific value on this spectrum measured in kelvin. Basically the higher the value is the colder the temperature is.

Different kinds of light and environments have different color temperatures. For instance, yellow light has a warm temperature and blue light has a cold temperature. Digital cameras do not perceive the light in a similar way to the human eye. That is why sometimes you don’t get the same colors in a photo as they were while shooting. The white balance helps us to capture the photo with our desired temperature. If you know how to use it, then you can easily get the most realistic photos according to the environment.

Adjusting White Balance on Camera

How to Adjust White Balance on camera

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Almost all digital cameras now come with an auto white balance option, which basically adjusts the balance accordingly to the environment. It is a great tool for beginners, however, in a few specific conditions, your camera can get confused about the lighting in the environment.

In order to keep up with this challenging situation, you must know how to manually operate the white balance settings. Cameras also have different white balance presets. For instance, incandescent, fluorescent, daylight, cloudy, etc. These presets work perfectly fine with various color temperatures. All you need is to know when to use which one. However, there is also a downside with presets. Presets work fine until the light is coming from a single light source.

If you are using more than one light source then you must make a custom preset for it. Experiment with different values of your custom preset accordingly, until you get perfect colors on the camera screen.

How to Fix White Balance in Photoshop

Photoshop is one of the most advanced photo editing software that you can find. It includes tons of tools that will give a complete control over your photos. For adjusting the white balance, the best way is to use the curves. You can access the curves panel by heading to the Image menu and then to the adjustments.

You will see a diagonal line on this panel. Set three points i.e. grey point, black point, and white point on the line to make curves.

White point

Firstly, we have to set a point by clicking on the highlights eyedropper on the right. Now the cursor will become an eyedropper icon. Select the whitest-looking part of your image. It will then place a white point over the line.

Grey point

The next step is to select the middle-eyedropper. Use the eyedropper to choose an area that is not too dark neither too light. This will place a second point on the line.

Black Point

To select the last one i.e. the black point, click on the left-eyedropper. Similar to previous steps, here we will place the eyedropper on the darkest part of the image. For instance, you can pick the area with the most shadows.

Now that we have selected all three points, it is time to make some adjustments. Move the points accordingly to what colors you want to balance in your photograph.

How to Adjust White Balance on laptop

How to Fix White Balance in Lightroom

Lightroom also allows you to adjust the white balance in your photos. To make it work, first, open the image in develop module. On your basic panel, on the top, you will come to find the white balance adjustment tools. Now, having the premise established, there are 3 ways to adjust the white balance in Lightroom:

By using the eyedropper tool

To use the eyedropper tool, click the eyedropper icon in the basic panel. Having it selected, move the tool to the supposed part of your image which is neutral and where the RGB values are similar.

By using Lightroom Presets

One thing to be known here is that most cameras already have various white balance options such as Daylight, Tungsten, etc. However, if for some reason, your camera betrays you on this matter, the lightroom is always there. Adobe Lightroom’s built-in presets can help you in how to adjust white balance.

Adjusting Temperature and Tint Manually

There comes a time, when mere presets won’t do you any good. This is where manual sliders in Lightroom come in handy. If you think your image needs a little bit of warmth or a little bit of coolness, you can tweak the sliders to avail just the right amount of it.

Conclusion - How to Adjust White Balance

In this article, you learned to adjust the white balance in every scenario. Once you have the grip over white balance, then getting professional-level photos will not be a difficult task.

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