Friday, March 29, 2013

How To Use Custom White Balance in Lightroom 3

I would assume the process is the same for Lightroom 4.  Currently I am still using Lightroom 3 because at this time I cannot justify a $100 upgrade for things I can do in LR3 already (although I do covet those wonderful brush options in LR4...)

Lately I have been having trouble with some of the photos my Nikon D7000 is putting out.  I notice that a lot of the time there is a pinkish color cast on images that I capture indoors (and sometimes outdoors too...).  It could entirely be the fault of the Sigma 18-200mm lens that I'm using and not the camera itself.  I really do not know.  Either way, its been frustrating to look at photos that were taken in a gymnasium which has mostly yellow and blue tones, and see them in pinks and purples!  Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

He's got some swagger, alright.  But why are the white walls pink?  And his skintone looks off.  And I've got over 300 photos like this!

I contemplated opening up Photoshop Elements 11 and trying to remove color cast.  But then I would have to do it for each one, I think.  I don't actually KNOW if I have to do it individually or if I can do it in a batch because I haven't had time to learn that yet.  I do know how to use LR3 quite well already so I figured I'd stick with that for now. 

While in the Develop window I remember once seeing this eye dropper item and not knowing what the crap to do with it:

All I knew is that when you click on it you pick it up and when you drag it around it puts a box up on the screen that changes colors as you go over your photo with it:

So I figured, what the heck.  I'll click on the back wall and see what happens.  I felt an instant sense of relief. 

Problem is basically solved.  I did tweak it a little to warm it just ever so slightly, and brought the tint to the right (towards pink, but not nearly as much as it had been before) and this is the final outcome:

Now to get the other photos effortlessly to match up I selected all the ones that had similar color cast and then clicked on the Sync button in the lower right hand corner of the window.  I then went to other groups of photos that had wrong white balances, fixed one with the custom eye dropper, and then selected the rest and synced them.  The best way to go about doing this is to have your Develop window open, bring up the bottom slide menu that shows the thumbnails of all your pics, and select them down there using either Shift mouse click or CTRL mouse click, keeping the one that you fixed as your main selected photo (the one that shows up big on the screen).  

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I hope this helps someone out there!  White balance is one of the trickiest things about photography I am finding.  The other thing I want to master is light metering.  Very very tricky.  When I learn new things about these two issues I try to always blog about them as that is where I have found my most valuable bits of information: the life experience of others.

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