Lightroom - How To Correctly Set White Balance

Correctly setting the White Balance of your image is one of the most important edits you perform in the digital darkroom. It is probably why Adobe put the correction right at the top of the Develop Module!

There is no exact science to what the correct White Balance looks like because a lot of times it comes down to the tonal qualities the photographer is trying to achieve. Lightroom does give us a few methods to help with the creative decision-making process. 

METHOD 1 - Use the Pipette tool and select an area in your image that is a neutral color. You want to go for a greyish color rather than pure white. Lightroom then calculates the white balance based on what you selected. You can then adjust this manually if you want to, using the Temp & Tint sliders.

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METHOD 2 - To the right of the pipette is a pull-down menu with White Balance options. These are going o show up differently depending on if you are working with a RAW or JPEG. With JPEG you just get two options 'As Shot' and 'Auto'. With RAW you get options corresponding to the light temperature scale, so you can choose an option that best matches the conditions you shot in. Or, just go with 'Auto' and Lightroom works things out itself. Once selected, you can also choose to customize the White Balance using the 'Temp' and 'Tint' sliders.

METHOD 3 - This is a fully do-it-yourself approach, where you go ahead and change the 'Temp' & 'Tint' sliders to get the effect you want.

I tend to go with Method 1 for the majority of the time, as I find it to be the most reliable of the three methods.

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