Tech Tips: Master the Light With Custom White Balance
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Master the Light With Custom White Balance
Not so long ago, color photographs were developed and printed in a darkroom. Colors were adjusted using chemicals, graduated color filters, and hundreds of dollars worth of equipment. The process of developing and printing photographs was long and grueling. Fortunately, today, things are different. Film photography has become a fine art, and digital photography has taken the helm because of its quick and efficient turnaround.
In the digital world, images can be edited, re-edited, and manipulated before they go to print. Instead of the enlargers and chemical baths found in traditional darkrooms, we now have the technology that gives us the post-processing power to tweak and change photographs to enhance them, sort of like a digital darkroom.
Adobe Lightroom is an inexpensive post-processing program used by amateur and professional photographers across the globe to edit and refine images. It includes many great features, one of which is a powerful White Balance tool that allows you to make color-tint adjustments that will help normalize the color tones you just couldn't land in-camera.
What Is White Balance And Why Does It Matter?
White Balance, which is measured in Kelvins, represents the temperature of light (cool or warm) recorded by your camera. Kelvins range from 1,500K (very warm) to 15,000K (very cool). It's important to stay aware of your White Balance setting as it could save you hours of editing time later. Most cameras today have pre-programmed presets such as Tungsten, Shade, Flash, Florescent, and Cloudy that all record temperature differently and help you capture colors as accurately as possible.
How Can I Make White Balance Changes In Lightroom?
When things aren't exactly what you're looking for, and you need to make adjustments, there are three ways you can adjust White Balance in Lightroom:
1) Eyedropper tool
Select the eyedropper tool from the Basics Panel and find an area in your image with light gray or neutral tones. Click that spot with the eyedropper tool and let Lightroom calculate the White Balance for you.
2) White Balance presets (RAW images only)
If your image is in RAW format, you'll have a list of White Balance presets available to you through the Basics Panel. Using the White Balance drop down menu, select an option that best describes the lighting conditions you shot in.
3) White Balance temperature and tint sliders
The temperature and tint sliders are an advanced setting that allows you to manually adjust how warm or cool an image is, in addition to adjusting the tint between green and magenta. This setting is the most powerful option of the three.
Go ahead and test the waters, and don't worry if you've made a mistake with your settings. Lightroom is a non-destructive editing program, so you can always get back to square one if you've made changes that just don't work well. Simply use the Reset button to remove all adjustments and return your settings to what they were when the image was captured, and you can start again.
by Scott Kelby
Lightroom has become the photographer's tool because it just has so much power and so much depth, but because it has so much power and depth, sometimes the things you need are...well...kinda hidden or not really obvious. There will be a lot of times when you need to get something done in Lightroom, but you have no idea where Adobe hid that feature, or what the "secret handshake" is to do that thing you need now so you can get back to working on your images. That's why this book was created: to get you to the technique, the shortcut, or exactly the right setting, right now.
Here's how it works: When you need to know how to do a particular thing, you turn to the chapter where it would be found (Print, Slideshow, Organizing, Importing, etc.), find the thing you need to do (it's easy-each page covers just one single topic), and Scott tells you exactly how to do it just like he was sitting there beside you, using the same casual style as if he were telling a friend. That way, you get back to editing your images fast.
This isn't a book of theory, full of confusing jargon and detailed multi-step concepts. This is a book on which button to click, which setting to use, and exactly how and when to use it, so you're never "stuck" in Lightroom again. This will be your "go to" book that sits within reach any time you're working in Lightroom, and you are going to love having this type of help right at your fingertips.