White Balance Adjustment (Gray Card, Photoshop, DPP)

This is my first tutorial in this blog  ~ just like what I have written previously in Just about Photography that I may write tutorial in Overseas Wedding blog.  In my opinion, become a professional photographer doesn’t mean you need to hide all things (regarding technical issue). That’s why I write this tutorial in this blog (not only in Just about Photography). I remember some of my friends ever talked with me, asked me “why you share some important technical issues to others for free?” Well, I can’t explain the reason ~ but I like to share what I have learned (simple right? hehe….).

Some of photos in this tutorial I took during Shawn and Swary wedding party, because the lighting condition is not good so auto white balance is really doesn’t work. I always bring my color checker passport (including gray card which helping me adjust custom white balance).

Gray card:

Using it, I can adjust custom white balance easily. You can see comparison below….

Auto White Balance:

Custom White Balance:

I think from this comparison you can see that custom white balance is really important (especially when you shoot indoor/studio).

Assume you don’t have gray card, then you can use Kevin preset (and adjust the number) or tungsten preset (sometimes it also works). You can see comparison below…..

Auto White Balance:

Kelvin preset:

You also can take photo in RAW file then change white balance in your computer. You can read my other article for adjusting white balance in RAW files (using DPP and Photoshop).

Auto White Balance:

RAW (white balance adjusted):

For some cases, maybe you only shoot in jpeg file (with auto white balance as your default setting) ~ that’s maybe fine for outdoor shooting but it can be a real problem when you shooting indoor. Still you can fix some photos using Photoshop but it may takes time.

Auto White Balance:

Photoshop: (read my method here)

Compare with custom white balance (custom WB adjusted using gray card):

After reading my article, this is my conclusion:

1. Gray card is really useful, especially when auto white balance doesn’t work. You also can try expodisc, that also can help you to adjust white balance.

2. Whether white balance is incorrect, try to modify the white balance using custom WB or other presets (do not depends on auto white balance for all situation).

3.  Adjusting white balance in RAW file is easier and faster than Jpeg file. Remember to bring 2 or 3 memory cards because RAW file takes more space.

4. Photoshop or other post processing software can help you to handle white balance, but it’s better to correct/adjust the white balance in your camera before you shoot IMHO….

I hope this tutorial give you some idea about white balance adjustment, thanks for visiting my blog….

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12 thoughts on “White Balance Adjustment (Gray Card, Photoshop, DPP)

  1. Thank you tipsnya ko, jadi kepengen coba gray card yang murah2 hehehe. Untuk yang gambar “Photoshop 1″ itu JPEG yang diatur WBnya di photoshop atau RAW?Kalau RAW masa ga bisa jadi seperti gambar “RAW (white balance adjusted)” (gambar serbet)?Koq jadi pink2 gitu hue nya.

    Lalu yang susah itu kalau lighting di resepsinya orange, lalu kita pake flash, kalau dipush WBnya ke cool WB, flashnya jadi kebiruan (karena pancaran flashnya warna putih), sebaiknya gimana ya ko?apa harus pake orange gel?

    • Yang photoshop itu filenya Jpeg (bukan RAW) trus pake photoshop diakalin WBnya, bs baca tutorialnya di JAP, nah cuman susah untuk bisa ke warna yang natural (compare klo pake gray card or RAW trus diconvert)….
      Yang agak ribet itu ya memang klo kita moto kadang pake flash kadang gak pake… soalnya klo kita udah set custom WBnya (gak pake flash) nah ntar pake flash kadang gak pas. Klo mau disetting pas pake flash ntar pas moto gak pake flash jg ngaco…. klo koko sih buat simple aja jadinya (satu disimpen di custom WB (non flash misalnya), satunya simpen di Kelvin (flash), jadi ganti2 cepet… trus klo lingkungan normal ganti lagi ke AWB)…

      • orange gel koko gak pernah make, cuman ada beberapa orang jg prefer pake itu (klo koko mgkn mending set WBnya pas pake flash trus set jg pas non flash…..)

  2. thank for the unselfish sharing. Normally I just shoot in jpg format, seldom in raw, as it took too much step for me. And also sometime the more adjustment need to do, it make me feel confuse in the end. haha… anyway, thank for the sharing.

    • I think we are the same ~ I also prefer shooting in Jpeg…
      Normally I shoot in RAW in case the white balance has problem (especially if I have no time to use gray card for adjusting custom WB). For indoor shooting, white balance is really annoying problem….. Other case I use RAW when I shoot landscape because I need more detail and exposure adjustment for sure….

  3. Great article! Thanks for sharing, bro.. Been wanting to do a comparison myself but haven’t gotten around to it, and now thanks to your kind sharing, I don’t have to! Heheh.. The extra color depth in RAW really helps in doing color correction, I see :)

    There’s one thing I’ve been wondering: the preset WBs only handle color temperature (measured in Kelvin). In your experience, is either AWB or custom-set WB useful in correcting other kinds of color cast (green cast from the light reflecting off the green carpet/interior, for example)? Thanks before :)

    • Your welcome….
      I am not sure about correcting the effect of color cast but I will try to answer your question. I think custom WB can fix the problem of color cast, but you can’t fix the whole photo. For your example case, you may fix the green cast (for the part that influenced by the green cast), but the adjusted white balance for that part should not be same with other part (which not under green cast)….

      • Ah, yeah, there’s that problem: WB applies to the whole picture instead of only parts of it. But it’s okay as long as you got the important part right ;)

        I think it’s cool that custom WB can fix color cast other than the orange-blue spectrum :)

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