Apr 30, 2011

Correcting White Balance : Tutorial

by: Amy Leavitt

We've all been there. You come home from a great session to discover that some of the photos have a color cast. You open up Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom and fiddle with the temperature and tint sliders, but it just doesn't look right. Now it looks too green. You fiddle some more and settle for "close" instead of "correct" white balance. You go on to edit the session, to find that your processing makes the photo's color problems even worse...

There is a better solution for those problem photos with color casts. Plus, it's really simple.

Here's my example. My daughter's birthday cake. With an obvious color cast. I get this a lot when shooting indoors. This is SOOC- Straight Out Of Camera.

If you're like me, it's not always easy to see what color the actual cast is. Which is what makes it so difficult to fix. Go ahead and guess what specific color you think this particular cast is.

1. The first thing you'll need to do is duplicate the image. Press CMD J (Mac) or CTRL J (PC).

2. While the duplicate layer is selected, go to the Filter Menu, choose Blur, then Average.

You'll see the actual color of the color cast now. Kind of a pink/orange-y thing.

3. Next, invert the color. This will change the color to the exact opposite of the current color. Press CMD i (Mac) or CTRL i (PC).

As many photographers know, the best way to fix color issues in a photograph is to ADD another color, and this is the basis of this technique.

4. Change the blending mode for the duplicate layer to "Color". (You can also play around with other blending modes, such as Vivid Light).

This is the result:

5. The last thing is to reduce the opacity of the layer until you find the perfect balance. On this photo, I reduced to 30%.

That's it, you're done! Once you do this technique a few times, it will become second nature.




Heather said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial Amy!!!! I can't wait to try it out!

Unknown said...

So smart! I can't believe I've never seen this somewhere else! Thanks so much!

Elder Larkin said...

Now this is something we can ALL use! Thank you Amy!