Adjusting White Balance When Editing Images.

As the title suggests , there are times when an image just looks too flat or too cold or a touch to warm to really suit the intent of the shot.

The images below are taken with the HS20EXR with white-balance set on Auto. I find this is the most accurate and reliable mode to use and the only time I deviate from this setting is when I’m shooting with fluorescent light.

Time was approx 8.30 am with a very low overcast that made everything a drab grey color. Added to this was the lack of any other element to give some contrast to the image. At this point most people are likely to either toss the image or consign it to an obscure ho-hum folder on their PC’s. Sometimes all it needs is a little bit of fiddling to go from bland to interesting.

The image is yet another of the local agricultural helicopter service. I never get sick of shooting these guys as they always do something interesting. The image we are working on is of the chopper just after he has rolled through a steep banking turn and is lining up for another run up the valley. At this point the chopper is about 250 meters from me and starting to move rapidly into his run. I used burst mode and AF Tracking with burst mode set at 5 fps and 4 images per burst. Camera was set in EXR HR mode, ISO 100.

Original image with no post processing.

Apart from changing the white balance I decided to crop the image a little just to reduce some of the extra grey cloud and to balance the look a little. To help  with the “atmosphere” of the image I choose a couple of different options from the vignette selection panel. The idea of adding “atmosphere” is an old photographic technique. In this case I want to try and emphasis the very personal and isolated environment that the pilot experiences.

Edit 1

In the above image the White Balance has been warmed. I selected 3500 K. The original image has a setting of 6500k which tone wise is quite neutral. I then added angled vignette to the image, sharpened, NR and contrast changed. Its not there yet but you can see where I’m heading with this. At this point I hadn’t cropped the image.

Edit 2

Maintaining the same image as above, but in this edit I went the other way with the white balance and selected a cooler tone at 7700k giving it a more blue/slate like color tone. The same amount of vignette density was used in both images.

S0037234_filtered1 (2)
Edit 3

In this image I have maintained the warmer settings , but the image is now cropped and to further isolate the subject of the image a double vignette is used to create a more isolated feel to the image.

edit 4

In this edit the same principals were used as in the previous image but with the white balance altered to 7700k to create the cooler look. Of all the images above the one I most prefer is the warmer image as shown in Edit 3. This is the one I have chosen for the wallpaper for my main monitor. I like to have have edits I’m happy with on my screen as I sometimes see areas that can be improved in the image.

All editing has been done using Photoscape  3.6.5 which I still find is my go to application. To see a larger view just click on the images for the full  size.

So have a go, you may be surprised as to what you can do with very little effort.

Which image above do you like best?

2 thoughts on “Adjusting White Balance When Editing Images.

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