White Balance Overview

White balance is essential for getting the correct color in your photos. The different types of light require white balance settings to control how colors are captured. The proper white balance will eliminate unwanted color casts that can make your image look undesirable or unnatural. I come across this issue all the time when photographing bugs on flowers; a bug on a red flower will have a reddish hue to it with auto-white balance, and I then have to correct this in post-processing.

White does not always appear correct in different lighting and ranges from cool to warm temperatures, and the white balance setting on your camera is used to set the temperature of the light, so the camera knows what white is in the light you have. A gray card is handy because that gives you a neutral target in your photo that can be used to set the white balance. If you set your camera to manual white balance, you can set it by taking a picture of your gray card in the light you are using. If you go this route, you will have to remember to do this any time the lighting changes; which would not be practical during sunrise/sunset since the lighting changes every few minutes.

I prefer to shoot my photos in RAW format so I can quickly change the white balance in post-processing. Here is how I do it in Lightroom!

Setting White Balance from Gray Card in Lightroom

From the Develop Menu, click on the white balance eye dropper

Click on a neutral area in the picture, hopefully where you put your gray card 😊

Easy as 1, 2, 3; now you have your white balance set, see how the colors look more natural

Here is a before and after comparison for reference, it is a subtle difference, but you can see the transition from yellow to orange to red much better, and the red looks more red and less magenta