Eyeball it

You shoot RAW, perhaps (at least I hope you do). That means you need not worry about setting white balance while shooting.

So how do you set white balance in post-production?

Ideally, you include a grey card and use the dropper tool in Lightroom (if that is what you are using) to take a neutral reading off this. But if you do not have a grey card in the photo?

Look at a student who kindly agreed to be the subject of a test picture. One: the original photo

Two: after I take a white balance off the eyeballs:

Three: as a personal preference, since I like warmer light I then always drag the colour temperature slider to a slightly higher temperature (a slightly warmer light):

And hey presto – done.

This is quicker than doing it on the camera, and more accurate, and you do not waste your subject’s time.

0 thoughts on “Eyeball it

  1. For underwater ambient light photography, I “evaluate” white balance on the camera whenever depth or lighting changes using a cut down version of PADI’s submersible white balance card: http://www.skubbashop.com/images/white_balance_slate.jpg Not only is the white a known value, so are the red/green/blue/yellow bars down the side.

    One thing I’ve been doing lately for “dry land” photography is to take one shot of just the card with whatever light I happen to be using, either before I start shooting or during a break. It gives me a better “white” baseline for later use in Lr; I can then apply that as a starting WB point for all of the raws from the whole shoot in one fell swoop.

    What I’m thinking I need to do is buy an X-Rite Color Checker Passport.

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