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How to Correct White Balance in Lightroom
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Who didn’t love Laurie’s post a few weeks ago about using Kelvin for white balance? Today, I wanted to show you how to correct white balance in Lightroom. Yes, you want to get it as close to correct in camera but sometimes it still needs to be tweaked a little in post processing. If your camera doesn’t have the option for Kelvin than you can always use custom white balance as well.

Using Lightroom to correct white balance is quite simple and just takes a few seconds. It is amazing how correct white balance can change the look of a photo.

Also, I forgot to mention, but all these photos are straight out of the camera (SOOC).

Let me know if you have any questions.

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28 Comments
  • May 8, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Courtney, you’re so good to us. I’ve used the eyedropper before, but never knew about the numbers. I also never noticed the preview changing at top left. How did I miss that?? Thank you so much. This tip will save me so much time!

  • May 8, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Hi Courtney : question – if you apply a Preset after you fix the WB does it throw the WB back? I guess I would need to figure out the Preset to see if it would adjust the WB?

    • Courtney
      May 8, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      Jenny,
      It depends on your preset. I would play around with your presets and see if they move your white balance. In my opinion, the good ones should not affect your white balance. You don’t want a blanket preset to mess with your white balance. However, if you do have one that messes with your white balance you could run the preset and then fix your white balance.

      • May 8, 2012 at 9:04 PM

        Thanks Courtney, hope you don’t mind, I did a mini reblog of this one. I’m going to do a SOOC and After of one I’d really like to try this out with, just with RGB / WB – no Presets.

        • Courtney
          May 8, 2012 at 9:37 PM

          Thanks for the sweet words about my blog! I’m so glad that I could help you along your journey! I completely agree, why buy an $800 camera if you aren’t going to learn to use it :O) I look forward to your before and after!

  • Christi
    May 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Thank you for sharing! So much quicker than all the slider adjustments I’ve been making. :)

  • Sara
    May 8, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Wow!!!! Thanks for this video!!!! I learned something new. I never realized how easy that is and what a huge difference it makes!!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • disneychamp
    May 9, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    I’ve always used the dropper, but the RGB numbers getting as close as possible was a great new insight! Thanks so much for a wonderful video tutorial!

  • subithra
    May 9, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    Courtney great post again! How do you know what are the values for RGB supposed to be?

    • Courtney
      May 10, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      The values change on every picture. Basically, you want them as close as possible to make sure you have found a nice neutral color to use for your white balance. Hope that helps :O)

  • May 11, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    This was so helpful. I rarely adjust my white balance and never knew much about it or how it could change the look of my pics, so this was a little enlightening. I definitely try to do it on my camera…but sometimes, it still looks off. Now I know I can fix it! Thanks you!

  • May 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Thanks Courtney! I’ve been using LR to correct white balance when needed, but had been doing it a bit differently with the sliders. This looks to be much easier!! Thanks again for all your great tips & teaching me something new!!
    P.S. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

  • Juanita
    May 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    OMG!!! I love you :-) that was such a “light bulb” moment!! I hAve never messed with those in lightroom either! I can’t wait to edit pictures now!!

    • Courtney
      May 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      You are so funny! Glad I helped you learn something new :O)

      • Juanita
        May 12, 2012 at 8:05 PM

        :-) you have taught me so much!!! I should have sent you a gift for Teacher appreciation week ;-) thank you so much!!!! You are AWESOME!!!!

  • wayan
    December 1, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Hi Courtney,

    Fantastic tips, correcting White Balance sometimes irritating me.
    My question is, when using eyedropper and choose the picture with the similar/closely number of RGB, should we choose white and black part of picture?
    If Yes, which one you mostly prefer?

    Thank You,

    • Courtney
      December 3, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      Hey Wayan!

      It really depends on the image. Sometimes a white area has closer numbers and sometimes a black area does. I always start with a gray area though. Hope that helps!!

  • April 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    I recently purchased lightroom 4, and have been scouring your website to help learn about it. Thanks so much for this tip on white balance in LR! It really is amazing how easy it is with this program. Here’s my question…do you use LR for just basic/clean editing and then use photoshop for more advanced, or do you do the majority of your editing only in LR?

    • Courtney Slazinik
      May 3, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      I use LR 100% of the time for my photo edits. I don’t have PS but would like to get it some day. However, I love LR so much I would imagine I would still do 95% of my editing in LR.

  • flor
    May 28, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    this was a wonderful post! i’ve been looking at different options for
    white balance and this sounds like the best so far. a couple of questions for you:

    1. you said you usually try to get wb correct in camera.. for those of us that don’t (I use
    AWB) does that mean that our “selection” of white/black/neutral options are not as “good” as
    when setting a CWB in camera (gray card, kelvin etc?) I hope this makes sense Basicially, if you had used ABW would your image have turned out as nice as this? Or does it just mean (when using ABW) a little more adjustments are necessary?

    2. Do you use gray card when you set your white balance in camera (i know you’ve mentioned it before but can’t remember)? I tend to put it on AWB because by the time i get my camera, set the white balance.. the photo moment I wanted to capture already passed me by.

    I’ve learned so much from you! You’re blog is the first place I go to when I’m having a meltdown over a LR issue or a photography problem :)

    • Courtney Slazinik
      May 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Hey!

      1. It is much easier to achieve the look you want when starting with the correct white balance or being as close as possible. If you tweak the white balance too much especially when shooting JPEG you will lose some of the image quality. This is why we stress getting it right in camera. You would be amazed at how easy it really is :)

      2. I use Kelvins most of the time but recently got an Expodisc which is fantastic as well. Sometimes, I’ll put my gray card in the image so I can use it in post processing if I don’t have time to set my white balance.

      Thanks for your sweet words!

  • August 17, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    THANK YOU so much for this post! I’m a little over a year late viewing this, but I have TOTALLY benefitted from your tutorial. This post was really enlightening for me and now I have to go back to the photos I’ve taken this year (it’s a good start) and re-check my white balance levels!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 21, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      I’m so glad to hear that! Yay!! Glad to hear it clicked :)

  • nuno
    October 17, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    hi i just want to know what numbers should be for dark’s and whites when useing white balance thank you

    • October 17, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Hey Nuno! The specific number doesn’t matter as much as you just want that number to be the same when finding a neutral spot. :)

  • March 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Great information to have…thanks for sharing so many great tips!

  • Lacey
    June 17, 2015 at 11:14 PM

    Great Tutorial! For some reason when I use the eye dropper and click on a gray or white area and try to correct it, it tells me to choose a darker area. Any idea why it won’t let me choose a white or gray area? I have used it when I have black in the picture and it worked great! Made a huge difference!

  • Kitaka Peter
    August 9, 2016 at 2:04 AM

    thank you
    how can i set the camera when am shooting long distance

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