Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Getting Rid of the Winter Blues

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

In overcast conditions, your images may have a blue color cast, as does this great snowman image shot by my friend Debbie Espinosa. It was shot with the camera on daylight white balance, so the camera did not adjust for the bluish color that overcast light has. What the image “should” look like is subjective. Blue suggests cold, so you may like it as is. Or you may prefer it to be more neutral.

Blue color cast

Before: Blue color cast

If you prefer it more neutral, the first way of achieving this is to photograph the subject with your camera white balance set to cloudy. If you haven’t done this, after photographing you can also adjust the white balance in Lightroom. There are three main ways to go about this, all using the white balance section:

1. From the white balance drop down menu, choose cloudy or shade, depending on which looks better to you. Both of these add yellow to adjust for overcast blue light.
2. Use the temperature (Temp) slider: slide it to the right to add yellow, which is the opposite of blue and therefore counteracts it.
3. Click on the white balance tool to select it, and then click on the snow in the image. Lightroom will calculate what color it needs to add to the image to make the area you selected completely color-neutral (i.e. white or grey).

4. Any combination of these methods. For example, you can use the white balance tool to get the image technically neutral, and then adjust the temperature slider to fine tune the white balance for visual appeal.

Adjusted with the White Balance Tool

Adjusted with the White Balance Tool

If you shot many images under the same conditions, fix the first one, then copy your solution to all your other images:

  • Click the Copy button at the bottom of the left panel in the Develop module
  • Check None to deselect all settings
  • select White Balance
  • Click Copy
  • Highlight all of your other images
  • Click Paste (next to Copy)

You can also accomplish the same with Synchronize or Auto Sync, if you prefer.

A couple other notes:

– The same white balance tools are available in Camera Raw.

– White balance correction works best on raw files, but you can also use the tools on jpegs and tiffs.

  1. Thanks for the tip! I’m processing a large file and needed your WB copying instructions for all 400 shots!

    • Thank you for your comment, Peggy. You’re very welcome. You can use the same technique to copy any combination of settings — definitely a time saver on those large shoots.

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