Easy White Balance Tutorial in Photoshop

While most of the time you are busy taking photos, you tend to overlook one little aspect in photography: The white balance.

You work hard to figure out the point of view, the angle and the position to shoot from and you use your camera to dial in the right shutter speed, aperture size and ISO. You have so much to do before you hit that shutter button that you sometimes get paranoid about missing the shot. You face this especially if you are shooting in public places, or when you are on the move; or in some situation where you cannot actually control the movement of your subjects.

However, a wrong white balance will leave a strong warm or cool colour cast on the image. It will make your images look flat destroying the colour range and depth.

This simple tutorial will show you how to quickly fix the white balance of your images in post processing using something white.

A quick note before you proceed further. There are thousands of ways and millions of tutorials by which you can learn to fix white balance. This is just one quick way. It might not work every time, but I encourage you to experiment it yourself and see what works best for you.

Things you will need

All you need is a picture that requires a white balance correction; Photoshop and your computer mouse. Do not use a touchpad or pen.

Step-by-step process

Got your stuff ready? Now let’s get started with our white balance tutorial.

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
    white balance tutorial 1Just by looking at the image one might think there is nothing wrong with it but, once we are done with the tutorial, you will see the difference.
  2. From the top menu, go to layers-> New adjustment layers -> curves.
    white balance tutorial curves layer
    You will see a small dialog box open up.
    white balance tutorial curves dialogue
    Just click ok and you will see that this opens the curves graph and adds a curves layer on top of your image.
  3. In the curves graph, you will see 3 colour pickers on the left. White, grey and black. Double click on the white colour picker.
    white balance tutorial white colour picker
    This will open a colour picker window.
    white balance tutorial white colour picker window
  4. Now look for an area in your image which you feel should be white; not blown out, over exposed white, something that should actually be white. Like, white clothing, white clouds, white feather, or anything that actually should be white in real time. I will sample this part of the subject’s clothes for white.