Coffee With Amanda: Fixing White Balance Problems in LightRoom

CoffeeShop LR White Balance Tutorial Feature


Hi there! Long time, no see!! This is Amanda, from Everyday Elements and I am beyond thrilled to be guest posting here today!

Rita and I keep up with each other's Facebook pages and I noticed several Lightroom questions being asked, so I offered to do a quick tutorial for CoffeeShop readers, and Rita graciously accepted, so here I am!

If you don't have Lightroom (LightRoom 4 just came out!), let me explain that it is an AMAZING file management program, with built in editing options that are similar to Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw. For me the Library/file management side of Lightroom is the biggest advantage, but many others use it for it's batch editing capabilities, for both raw and jpg images.

Okay, that said, I want to show how to quickly fix white balance problems your images may have.
  • What is white balance? That is the overall color temperature of your picture and it is determined by the WB setting on your camera and the type of light you were in when the picture was captured.
  • If your image is really orange/yellow then your WB is too warm. If your image is too red/blue then your WB is too cool.
  • When the white balance is off, the whole picture will just look "off," no matter how great everything else is with it.
See my SOOC (straight out of camera) shot below? The white balance is too warm; my daughter does not have red hair. ;-)



Using Eyedropper in LR for WB


To fix the WB in Lightroom (this is the SAME for LR 4, 3 and 2), simply click on the eyedropper tool, then click in the whites of the eyes. Sometimes you will need to try different spots, so after clicking and not seeing what you want, just press the 'w' key on your keyboard. That reactivates your eyedropper tool, and you can click again.

What if you do not have any eyes in your picture? Look for something that should be gray or neutral. That can be a zipper, button, silver jewelry (as long as it's not reflecting light), a fence, gate, door knob, you name it.



LRwbtweakbeforeafter


Once you get the WB you want, you can then "sync" other images that were shot in the same light/setting. Usually I do all my global (applies to whole image, not local spots) edits then sync with other pictures, but for this example I am only syncing the white balance.
  • Below your main workspace is a thumbnail strip of other pictures in that collection/keyword tags/import (however you were viewing the image in the Library module before moving over to the Develop module).
  • The image you are working on will be a lighter shade than those surrounding it, hold down your shift key and then click the last picture in the series of images you wish to sync.



Syncing WB in Lightroom

  • After highlighting all the pictures with similar lighting/wb then press the 'sync' button (labeled with 2nd above).
  • When the dialogue box comes open, click the 'check none' box so that none of the settings are selected.
  • Cick the box next to White Balance.
  • Press 'synchronize,' and that adjusted white balance will be applied to those other images, saving you from having to do each one individually.
There you have it....fixing white balance in Lightroom is just that easy!

If you are very new to Lightroom and would love to learn how to really rock both the Library (file management) and the Develop (photo editing) modules, I recommend taking one of my Lightroom workshops that I offer via Pretty Presets. They are super affordable and jam-packed with value!

3 Comments:

Isabelle March 16, 2012 at 8:41 AM  

Is it the same steps with Lightroom 3?

Rita March 18, 2012 at 1:58 PM  

It should be!

Leslie March 19, 2012 at 6:58 PM  

Hi! I can't even find the eyedropper tool. I'm opening LIght room for the first time. I can adjust white balance with sliders (4.0 Beta) but not eyedropper. Where do I find it?! I'm usually savvy, but I am a bit daunted by Lightroom at the moment!