3 Ways to Change White Balance in Lightroom

Did you know there are three different ways to edit your white balance in Lightroom?

White balance is something that many photographers select with their in-camera settings and its function is to correct too warm or too cool colour casts as a result of  the lighting in your scene. For example, fluorescent lighting is very ‘cool’ lighting and your images will take on a cold colour cast if not corrected with a warming colour balance in the camera settings.

However, if the images are shot in RAW and the files remain open to total in-computer control, the while balance can be better-altered in computer editing programs. This means you can either alter an incorrect balance or employ changes to achieve a more creative interpretation of your scene (exe: to add a warm, golden hour glow). You can make these changes in a JPG, but the options aren’t as large as those for RAW files.

Method 1 – Drop Down

The first way you can change your WB in LR is in the drop-down menu. When you select this drop-down, you are faced with 9 options which are the same settings you will see in your camera. Just click them to experiment and see your image change. If the file is a jpeg, you will see only 2 options: auto and custom.

Method 2 – Sliders

There are two sliders in the white balance section in Lightroom. One for adjusting the temperature and one for the tint.

  • Temperature – the temp slider alters the colour temperature of the photo. Sliding to the left compensates for a too-warm temp by making the image cooler. Sliding to the right does the opposite and warms the photo.
  • Tint – the tint slider compensates for a magenta or green tint. Use the temp slider first and then use the tint slider to neutralise any remaining green or magenta tints left in the image (more prevalent in light sources like fluorescent).

Method 3 – Dropper

My favourite method for changing the white balance of an image in Lightroom is to use the dropper tool. When viewing the image, click the dropper tool in the WB palette and scan your image for something which is neutral grey. If you don’t actually have grey in your image at all, you’re looking for a neutral color. You can identify the color you’re hovering over with the dropper as a neutral when then three R, G & B values are about equal.  This is also the best option for altering the WB on a JPEG.