Unless you use precise settings or a gray card, some cameras tend to make the white balance a bit wrong. This is especially true for phone cameras, and I have to admit that my Nikon also doesn’t do a great job under certain conditions. But it can be an easy fix. In fact, there are several ways to do it just right, and Cristi Kerekes introduces you to three that he finds the simplest and most useful.
1. “The Beginner’s Method”
Convert the image layer to a smart object and go to Filter> Camera Raw Filter. You will see the dropper under the “White Balance” card. Click on it and then select the area of the photo that is supposed to be gray or white. This is a similar method to what I sometimes use in Lightroom in case I have a white or gray area in the image. This isn’t always the case, but read on to find out what to do with photos like this.
Create a curves adjustment layer above your image. Go to properties and click the icon in the upper right corner to see more options.
Click on “Show clipping for black / white points”. Now open the red channel and drag the In point to the right until you start to see black areas. If necessary, also drag the Out point to the left until red areas start to appear. Now do the same for the Green channel and the Blue channel. This will remove the color cast and make the colors in the image more natural.
There is a way to make this process automatic. When you create the curves adjustment layer, go to the automatic options and check the “Snap neutral midtones” box. Experiment with the options above to see which one works best, and for Cristi it’s usually “Enhance Contrast by Channel”.
3. Curves and solid color
This method works best if you don’t have a white area in your image, or if none of the previous methods work. It starts with a curves adjustment layer above your image. On top of that, add a solid color adjustment layer which should be 50% gray (enter # 808080 for the color code). Set this solid color layer to Difference blend mode and it will show you the areas closest to gray on the original image.
Now add a threshold adjustment layer. Push the handle all the way to the left, then slide it slowly to the right until black areas start to appear. These are the gray areas mentioned above, and it’s much easier to see them that way. Now go back to that curves adjustment layer, select the middle eyedropper and click on a black area of your image. Turn off the Solid Color and Threshold adjustment layers and you will see the result.
I must admit that I never use Photoshop to adjust the white balance. I always do this in Lightroom, I guess it’s a matter of habit, and I find it super intuitive. But it’s always good to learn new techniques, and I definitely did after watching this video.
How do I adjust the white balance? And are you using Lightroom or Photoshop (or something else)?[3 White Balance Tricks in Photoshop 2021 (Color Correction) via ISO 1200]