White Balance Adjustment (Post Processing)

I remember that some people asking me about the white balance setting in my camera. At that time I also confuse how to explain because most of time I just use auto white balance. This article is simply explaining how to adjust the white balance in post processing in case you shoot with auto white balance setting.

First, I don’t recommend you to use auto white balance setting for all cases – it’s better to bring gray card, exposure disc to help you change the white balance in your camera. You also can use other white balance presets such as cloudy, shade, tungsten, etc depends on condition. For some cameras, you also can modify the white balance based on Kelvin number.

So if you have set your white balance correctly you don’t really need to read this tutorial, so why I need to create this tutorial hehe…. Well, I am pretty sure that sometimes you don’t have time to change the white balance setting – you can modify the white balance but you will miss the moment (which photo you will choose: nice moment with wrong white balance or correct white balance with bad moment) . I also ever shoot in stage which the lighting condition is not constant/stable (so it’s not easy to get correct white balance all the time). In case of shooting model, you always can adjust the white balance correctly if you shoot one by one (one model vs one photographer). But for some cases many photographers shoot 1 model, it’s not convenient to calibrate and adjust the white balance in every location (the other photographers will blame you for sure ^^).

In order to adjust the white balance you better shoot in RAW mode. Adjusting the white balance in RAW file is easier than in Jpeg file. I will describe how to adjust the white balance in RAW file (you can skip this one if you think it is too easy for you).

If you shooting in RAW then you can open Canon DPP (for Canon user ^^):

Just change the white balance setting to “color temperature” or “click white balance”. In this case, because there is no gray card for the exact reference for white balance so I prefer to choose “color temperature” option (instead of “click white balance” option). Then I just change the color temperature to 3300 K. In few seconds, you can adjust the white balance – you also can use the same setting for many photos (batch) so you don’t need to waste your time.

Before & After WB adjustment:

In case you use Photoshop (make sure you download adobe camera RAW for your Photoshop because some new cameras need the latest version) :

The same way with Canon DPP, I just modify the temperature become 3300 K (for this sample) ~ the result is almost the same with Canon DPP. I think the big different is Photoshop has more option for adjusting the temperature, you can modify the temperature become 3345K (in case you happy with that number ^^) ~ in Canon DPP you only can modify the number with step 100K.

In this tutorial, I don’t give a sample to adjust WB in RAW file for Adobe Lightroom – but the way is not difficult (similar with DPP & Photoshop).

So how about adjusting white balance for Jpeg file ? Actually I have explained it in my previous article. If you read that article you will know that the difficult part is to know which point is the brightest or darkest area, you also need some masking which make you waste time more.  Just remember that for some cases, this method is not work…..

Using the same sample photo, I still can use my 2009’s method (I just pick white point area sample, I mark with red dot)…

Below I will give other sample that a little bit difficult to be fixed by using my previous method…

Original photo:

Fixed by my previous method:

Modify gamma from 1.00 to 1.2: (additional way)

I think the result is not bad, but we can try other method to fix it….

This take some steps so I will describe one by one:

1. Add curve adjustment layer:

Adjust green channel:

Adjust blue channel:

Adjust rgb channel:

Result:

2. Add Photo Filter layer:

Add cooling filter & adjust density :

Result:

3. Add level adjustment layer:

Result:

Comparison:

I think there are many variations you can try to fix white balance problem in Jpeg file ~ but for sure it waste time more compare to fix RAW file. Of course you can shoot in RAW if you want to avoid wasting time correcting the white balance.

I hope this tutorial gives you some idea about how to adjust white balance in post processing. Any comments, suggestions, critique are welcome. Thanks for visiting my blog and website.

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