How to Do Custom Camera White Balance with a Gray Card

On  this video photographer Phil Steele looks at two simple ways to set your white balance currently both before you take your pictures and afterwards in post production.

Although you can usually change your white balance in post production, we typically suggest that you try and set it correctly while you are still shooting (it saves time and it is simply a better way of working). Using a simple grey card (like this one from Lastolite for example) is easy. All you need to do is put the card as close as possible to the subject you are shooting in exactly the same light as you are shooting in and set your camera to set your camera to capture a custom white balance (the process is a little bit different for each camera and you should check your manual or online to see how it is done on yours – Steele shows how it is done on a Canon camera – on Nikon for example it is a bit different). Just don’t forget to set your white balance back (or make another custom one) when you move into a different lighting scenario.

The other option is to fix the white balance after you take your pictures. In this case Steele has a demo of a woman holding a grey card and he shows how to do this in Lightroom. The process is very simple – in the develop module you click on the the white balance selector (the little eye dropper) and choose a solid pure grey color and that’s it. If you want to apply this to all the following images – all you need to do is correct the first one, select all the images you want to correct (as well as the one you corrected as the first) and check out sync and choose white balance) and you are done.
You can check out many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid.
Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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