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Thread: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

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    Default Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    Using a Gray Card
    A ‘gray card’ is just what it sounds like — a gray card that’s 18% gray that we use to help us set a really accurate white balance. These cards are so handy that I include a perforated tear-out gray card in my “Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers” (so if you have my book, go tear your gray card out). If you don’t have my book, you can pick up a gray card from B&H (here’s a 12″ collapsable one I like by Impact for around $23).

    Once you get your lighting set, you’ll need to take one photo with the gray card clearly visible in the scene. In this case, we’re doing a portrait shoot so hand your subject the gray card and ask them to hold it so its in clear view (I usually have them hold it up near their face, like you see above). The card she’s holding here is the tear-our card from my Lightroom book. Once she’s holding the card, just take one shot (that’s all it takes).

    Import the images into Lightroom
    Import all the shots from the shoot into Lightroom. Get the White Balance Eyedropper tool (from up in the toolbar along the top left — it’s the one that looks like an eyedropper 1/2-filled with gray), and click it once directly on the gray card shot (the first shot you imported) and BAM! — that’s it! Your white balance is set for this shot (as seen above).

    Applying this white balance to other images
    Now hold the Command-key (on Mac) or the Ctrl-key (on Windows) and click on any images in that filmstrip that you want to have exactly same white balance settings (the same one as the gray card image you just corrected), as seen above.

    Now click the Sync… button at the bottom of the right side panels. This brings up the dialog you see above left. This lets you synchronize all the changes you’ve made to the image with the gray card, with those other images you just selected, but since in this case we only adjusted the White Balance, click the “Check None” button (on the bottom left), and then turn on the checkbox for White Balance (and I always leave Process Version turned on so I’m using the most current math behind the images).

    Just One More Click and You’re Done
    Now just click the Synchronize button and it instantly applies the same gray card white balance setting to all your other selected images, as seen above (I pressed “g” to switch to the Grid view so you can see how the new white balance was applied).

    There’s an an even quicker way
    If you know right up front that you want to change the white balance for all the images in your shoot to match the one where you subject is holding the gray card, then your workflow is slightly different (and much faster). Step one is to Select all your images, then turn on Auto Sync (it appears where the Sync… button used to be — at the bottom of the right side panels.

    Step two is to click on the photo with the gray card it in; click the White Balance eyedropper on the gray card itself, and voilá — all the selected images are immediately changed to that white balance.
    Well, there ya have it. Hope you found that helpful.
    Best,
    -Scott
    The post Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom appeared first on Lightroom Killer Tips.



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  2. #2

    Default Re: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    Our hands do the same trick

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccm33 View Post
    Our hands do the same trick
    this is talking about setting white balance using gray card, the card or whatever object has to be neutral in colours,
    the skin tone of our hands are not neutral, not even the white people.
    Last edited by catchlights; 11th March 2015 at 08:06 AM.
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    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    Curious. when do we use a color checker instead of a grey card?

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Curious. when do we use a color checker instead of a grey card?
    color checker is able to let photographers build custom color profiles of the lens and camera combination he have. for better colors fidelity of his images.

    http://xritephoto.com/colorchecker-passport/support
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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Curious. when do we use a color checker instead of a grey card?
    Color checker is not only about wb. It is more about color accuracy.

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    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    Not necessarily done in any sort of post process I use a Lally Cap and I am pleased with what it does for me concerning a fairly accurate WB. I'm interested in color accuracy for sure and if I was operating at a professional level the tool senior bros talk about would be indispensable IMO.
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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonzen View Post
    Not necessarily done in any sort of post process I use a Lally Cap and I am pleased with what it does for me concerning a fairly accurate WB. I'm interested in color accuracy for sure and if I was operating at a professional level the tool senior bros talk about would be indispensable IMO.

    to do custom white balance is always preferable but some times it is not possible.
    so take a reference shot of gray card (or similar White Balance Tools) before, during or after the shoot under the same lighting condition it is so much easier, if photographers practise shooting in RAW workflow.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using a Gray Card for Setting White Balance in Lightroom

    This is why I prefer the Lally Cap to cards to obtain WB reading. Very easy and it stays out of the way. According to Popular Photography magazine the Lally Cap is the most accurate of these devices. I am a down and dirty fast jpeg shooter therefore this is critical for me. (I am in it for myself...now if $ involved I have a RAW copy going to SD card too) Someday I will probably treat myself and buy the Color Checker (but not for WB). I believe in good tools.
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 14th March 2015 at 01:35 AM.
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