Our eyes are very good at perceiving consistent color under a variety of different light sources, but our digital cameras often fail to produce images that match the way we see the world. When the White Balance is off our digital images exhibit unnatural blue, yellow, purple, or greenish color casts.
Fortunately, it is easy to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s White Balance repair tools to remove a distracting color cast and make our images look more realistic. Using Lightroom’s White Balance sliders, we can precisely match our images to the world as we see it. Even better, we can also use the same controls to shape a more expressive and evocative mood for our photographs. Color is powerful stuff.
White Balance in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is controlled with the Temperature and the Tint sliders. These two controls seem simple enough but don’t be fooled. In the right hands, these two sliders can literally turn day into night.
John Paul Caponigro, one of my favorite contemporary photographers, has this to say about his love affair with color.
“I love color. I love it because it’s exciting and energizing. I love it because it’s physical and sensual. I love it because it’s emotional and expressive. I love it because it’s interesting – scientifically, historically, socially, psychologically. I love color because you can look at it literally, abstractly, or symbolically. I love color because it has a rich history and diverse cultures and people have done such different things with it, but somehow I can connect with most of the things they’ve done with it, even if I don’t have the same culture or language. I love color because it’s a language that we can all do so much with.”
I could go on and on about the importance of White Balance in digital photography but instead I am going to end this article with some thoughts from a guy named Ansel Adams.
“I should state here that most of my readers do not think of me as being a color photographer. In fact, I have given the impression of being hostile towards it. During my professional years though I did a lot of work with Kodachrome…. Were I entering photography now as a young man I undoubtedly would deeply concern myself with color. I stayed with black–and–white simply because I enjoyed the controls that the process offered. However, I feel strongly that color photography is one of the major expressions of our time.” — Ansel Adams 1978