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White Balance

You know what color white is, right? Well, not so fast. When a camera's imaging sensor sees something that you and I know is white, it may not register as such; it could be gray, or yellow, or bluish, depending on the light source. Most cameras analyze the light before taking a shot and determine a value for what appears to be white (or gray) in the scene. That value is the base for how the rest of the colors in the picture appear.

That's a lot of math in a fraction of a second! Luckily, we have software that loves math. So if you went shooting on a cloudy day and your photos are all a bit drab, a simple white balance adjustment could warm them up with more natural tones—without boosting saturation.

To adjust the white balance, do the following:

  1. Click the White Balance tool in the sidebar.
  2. Click an edit tile above the image to apply a white balance setting (Figure 4.32). Each is marked by a type of lighting.
    Figure 4.32

    Figure 4.32 White Balance adjustments.

  3. Click the green Save button (the checkmark) to apply the setting.

Advanced white balance settings

Tucked at the far right edge of the editing controls is a small wrench icon that activates the advanced settings for White Balance (Figure 4.33). These provide more granularity than the edit tiles.

Figure 4.33

Figure 4.33 Advanced icon.

  1. Click the icon to display the advanced sliders (Figure 4.34).
    Figure 4.34

    Figure 4.34 Advanced white balance controls.

  2. Drag the Temp and Tint sliders to adjust the white balance. Temp (temperature) makes the image cooler (to the left) or warmer (to the right). Tint shifts the color slightly to compensate for color cast caused by different light sources.

    You can also specify a color in the image as being a white or neutral point. The mouse pointer becomes an eyedropper icon when you move it over the image. Click an area that should appear white or gray; the Temp and Tint sliders change to compensate.

  3. Click the green Save button (the checkmark) to apply the setting.
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