Using a Gray Card for White Balance

Bill had a great question about my One Light Product Photography post yesterday so I thought I’d share my “not so secret” method for achieving correct white balance for all my product photography.

How many times have you been shooting where the colors look great on your camera’s LCD but seem a little off in Lightroom? You can spend hours tweaking the white balance and HSL sliders in Lightroom’s develop module trying to get your on-screen image to look like you remember it or you can buy a WhiBal gray card from the folks at Michael Tapes Design and solve this problem in just a few seconds.

Using a Gray Card

Fixing your white balance in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 using a WhiBal gray card is as simple as clicking the White Balance Selector tool (eye-dropper) in the “Basic” panel of the “Develop Module” and then clicking on the neutral gray area of the WhiBal gray card in your image. The Temp and Tint sliders in the Basic panel will adjust to make the selected color neutral, resulting in the correct white balance for these lighting conditions. The final step is to “sync” the white balance for all the other images taken in the same lighting conditions.

2 thoughts on “Using a Gray Card for White Balance

    • Larry,

      It’s fairly easy to “sync” white balance or any other develop settings and apply them to other images. First select the image whose settings you want to use in the Filmstrip panel. Then select the other images you want to apply the setting to by using the “Command-Click” method. Then click on the Snyc button located at the bottom of the “Right-Side Panel” (below the develop settings). This brings up the Sync Settings dialog box where you check which settings to apply. If all you want to copy is White Balance simply click on the Check None button and then check the White Balance checkbox and hit the Synchronize button. Now all the images you selected will use the same white balance.

      BTW – I learned this trick from Kelby Training’s Lightroom videos.


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