White balance is hard to get right when you're out shooting. Whether because of tight timing or tricky lighting, it isn't always possible to nail it in camera. Sometimes, it's easier to just fix it later on in post production. We've prepared a guide on how to fix white balance in Lightroom.
You can correct the white balance of a whole photo in Lightroom using preset options, as well as Temp and Tint sliders. Meanwhile, for editing certain areas of an image, use the Brush, Radial or Graduated Filters, Eyedropper, or White Balance Selector tool.
Fixing the white balance should be one of the first steps of your editing workflow since it relates to a photo's color temperature. While there are times when the auto setting in a camera won't reproduce your desired results, you can compensate and make adjustments through Lightroom's tools.
With Lightroom's preset options, slider, and drop-down list, you can quickly fix the white balance of an entire image. See which one would work best for your photos.
Like camera white balance options, there's a drop-down list of presets from the Develop module where you can pick a Lightroom white balance preset that either fits your style or close to the colors of your image.
Keep in mind that the Lightroom presets above only work for RAW files. Shooting in JPEG only gives you three presets: As Shot, Auto, and Custom.
Most of the time, it's ideal to set your camera to RAW. This file type gives you the most flexibility for correcting the image, including white balance adjustments and presets, in post-processing.
If an image ends up too warm or too cool when using Lightroom presets, you can make improvements with the help of the Temperature and Tint sliders.
Temperature value ranges from 2000 to 50,000 for RAW, whereas JPEG only has -100 to +100. In general, moving the Temp slider to the right makes an image warmer or more yellow, whereas dragging it to the left creates a bit of a cool or blue effect.
After setting the temperature, adjust the Tint slider to remove green or magenta colors. Move it to the right if you need to get more purple hues. Meanwhile, drag the Tint slider to the left if you prefer to make a photo have a bit of a greener tone.
There are times when a real estate image has mixed lighting conditions, especially at interiors with various lighting fixtures. In effect, your photos get different colors. After applying a preset, you can use these Lightroom tools to fix the white balance of certain portions.
In Lightroom, using the Adjustment Brush involves 'painting the change' on specific areas of an image where you want it.
With the Radial or Graduated Filters of Lightroom, you can change the white balance by placing a filter then applying a bit of adjustment only to a particular part of a photo.
Using the White Balance Selector tool or Eyedropper is one of the most time-saving ways to set your white balance. It calculates the average luminance of the neutral and RGB colors to set new values for Temp and Tint sliders.
Using the HSL Panel is another easy way to make white balance setting adjustments and remove color casts, especially if you need to target an image's particular colors.
Lightroom's HSL allows you to tweak a color's Hue (shade), Saturation (intensity), and Luminance ( brightness).
Some cameras do a great job with auto white balance, and it's usually safe to pick auto white balance as a starting point, especially when you can do post-production and apply a preset in Lightroom.
You can tweak white balance a bit in Photoshop using the Curves panel. Click the white balance dropper and choose an area of your image that's meant to be white or something that's as close to 50% grey as possible. See this white balance trick from the Graphics Geeks.
For the details of adjusting white balance in Lightroom, see this tutorial. John McBay has several videos in his Image Editing For Real Estate video series that deals with all the classic mixed white balance issues that we run into in interiors.
Even when using presets in post-processing, adjusting an image's white balance in Lightroom should be easy once you learn the techniques and tools. While choosing the perfect value may depend on your style, real estate photography typically would require you to keep the colors look as natural as possible.
What workflow do readers use for white balance? I’d love to hear from readers as to how everyone handles white balance.