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Correcting White Balance


Image Editing Tutorial - Correcting White Balance

Note: For this tutorial I'm using Adobe Photoshop CS3, however these techniques will also work in most other popular image editing programs, as long as they have a levels or colour balance option, including Photoshop Elements 5, Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, Ulead PhotoImpact, and GIMP.

Almost all digital cameras have some sort of white balance selection, but it's a feature that most people seem to ignore. In most cases this isn't a problem, because the default automatic white balance feature handles most everyday lighting situations perfectly well. However sometimes, usually when shooting without the flash in artificial light, your pictures may show a strong colour tint, caused by incorrect white balance setting. Using the pre-set white balance options in your camera's menu will normally prevent this problem, but it is also possible to correct colour tints later using photo editing software. There are several ways to do this.

If you have a high-spec camera and you shoot in Raw mode then the solution is simple, since the Raw file converter software will include the option to change the white balance setting during processing, including options to fine-tune the setting by adjusting colour temperature.

However if your photos are normal JPEG files, as produced by the majority of digital cameras, you'll need to manually adjust the colour balance of the picture to correct the white balance. This photograph was shot under tungsten (incandescent) light using automatic white balance, and as you can see it has a strong yellow/orange tint typical of this type of lighting.

However by adjusting the colour balance in Photoshop I have been able to largely correct this fault, resulting in a much better picture.

Here's how it's doneā€¦

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