Your image looks too yellow. Or too green. Or too blue. You’ve seen many photographs where something doesn’t look quite right… so… what’s the problem? It’s usually white balance.
What is White Balance
A good white balance makes your image look realistic and true to color… to have a nice clean image where the whites look white and the colors are true to life.
White balance and light go hand in hand. Different types of light have different temperatures. Light can be warm or cool. At noon, in the hot sun, light is warmer and the Kelvin temperature is higher. At dusk or dawn, the light is blue and the temperature of light is much cooler. Different types of lighting (tungsten, fluorescent, incandescent) also have different temperatures as well.
When the white balance settings of your camera don’t match your ambient lighting, it will result in bad white balance. How can you fix it? Fortunately for us, there are two easy ways to fix white balance in Photoshop.
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Before correcting your White balance in Photoshop, always adjust your exposure first. You can find that info here.
Method #1 to correct White Balance
The first way to correct white balance in Photoshop is to use your dropper and find a neutral color in the image. Select your dropper, click on either grey or white to adjust. In a pinch, you can also use denim to get in the correct ballpark if the denim fabric is greyish blue. (In a real pinch (not recommended, but you can try) is to use the white of an eye or a tooth. You’ll find that it might or might not work.
White Balance using dropper-
make sure you click on your base layer
camera raw filter
click on dropper and click around eliminating whites that aren’t ‘white’.
Method #2 to Correct White Balance
The second way to adjust white balance is to shoot in RAW format and use the presets for white balance. Click on the screencast to watch a play by play video of how to adjust your White Balance in Photoshop!
Open Raw file by clicking on it
Click on White Balance presets and click on the closest setting to your lighting when you shot.
Below are two screencasts. The first is how to bring a JPEG into Camera Raw and adjust White Balance. The second is how to adjust the White Balance using a RAW file. All images are taken by myself or are courtesy of Unsplash.