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Setting Your White Balance Live While Shooting Tethered

The fact that you can shoot tethered directly from your camera, straight into Lightroom, is one of my favorite features in Lightroom, but when I learned the trick of having the correct white balance applied automatically, as the images first come into Lightroom, it just put me over the top. So much so that I was able to include a free, perforated tear-out 18% gray card in the back of this book, so you can do the exact same thing (without having to go out and buy a gray card. A big thanks to my publisher, Peachpit Press, for letting me include this). You are going to love this!

Step One:

Start by connecting your camera to your computer (or laptop) using a USB cable, then go under Lightroom’s File menu, under Tethered Capture, and choose Start Tethered Capture (as shown here). This brings up the Tethered Capture Settings dialog, where you choose your preferences for how the images will be handled as they’re imported into Lightroom (see page 29 in Chapter 1 for more details on this dialog and what to put in where).

Step Two:

Once you get your lighting set up the way you want it (or if you’re shooting in natural light), place your subject into position, then go to the back of this book, and tear out the perforated 18% gray card. Hand the gray card to your subject and ask them to hold it while you take a test shot (if you’re shooting a product instead, just lean the gray card on the product, or somewhere right near it in the same light). Now take your test shot with the gray card clearly visible in the shot (as shown here).

Step Three:

When the photo with the gray card appears in Lightroom, get the White Balance Selector tool (W) from the top of the Develop module’s Basic panel, and click it once on the gray card in the photo (as shown here). That’s it—your white balance is now properly set for this photo. Now, we’re going to take that white balance setting and use it to automatically fix the rest of the photos as they’re imported.

Step Four:

Go to the Tethered Capture window (press Command-T [PC: Ctrl-T] if it’s no longer visible) and on the right side, from the Develop Settings pop-up menu, choose Same as Previous. That’s it—now you can take the gray card out of the scene (or get it back from your subject, who’s probably tired of holding it by now), and you can go back to shooting. As the next photos you shoot come into Lightroom, they will have that custom white balance you set in the first image applied to the rest of them automatically. So, now not only will you see the proper white balance for the rest of the shoot, that’s just another thing you don’t have to mess with in post-production afterwards. Again, a big thanks to my publisher, Peachpit Press, for allowing me to include this gray card in the book for you.

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