Digital white balance made simple

I recently got a tip from a colleague who saw me photographing in a hall. He looked at my photos and was impressed, but he noticed that the light was not good enough and that I was not using any flash. He asked me why I was not using a Grey card. I told him that I don't have any, but that I had a Grey card shot I made earlier that day at home. I knew that I needed a Grey card but to be sincere, I only started my photographing carrier early this summer, so I was not ashamed to ask him to tell me more.

He told me that the pre-configured version of my Grey card shot will not work for every light source. He took out a Grey card he was carrying, hold it up and asked me to take a shot of it. After I did, he said, this will be the basis for all of the photos you take here. I'll walk you guys through what he told me to do.

Working with a grey card

First of all, its important to buy a grey card and have it with you everywhere you go. Your camera will produce an almost perfect picture if you perfectly set your camera to shoot in the situation you find yourself in, but if you're shooting in an environment where there's lots of different light source, then you're in trouble.

What you have to do, is to set your camera with the correct settings for the situation you find yourself in and take as much photos as you need. Now, before leaving the area where you took the photos, hold up your Grey card and take a shot of it. The Grey card shot is always my last shot, because its much more easier to find out which photo goes with which Grey card. All the photos before a Grey card goes with the Grey card at its end. So, another light source another Grey card shot.


I use Lightroom v3 beta to develop my photos. Its a great software for your photos, but you can use any software of your choice as long as it allows you to customize your "white balance" setting.

While in the developer's area, select the Grey card photo that you want to use. Go to the right hand panel and select the eyedropper under the "Basic tab", now point anywhere in the Grey card photo and select it. You will notice that the photo's color changes. Now go to the photo that needs a white balance setting, select it, then "right click" on it and choose "settings" then select "paste settings from previous".

Thats all you have to do to implement the white balance of a particular light source and by doing that, you are able to achieve a much better photo.