I tell you this because I have this overwhelming need to explain my rookie mistake. While learning about the new camera I took some images of my dog under incandescent/tungsten light the night before, and I forgot to set my white balance back to sunny the next morning.
The camera does not shoot in RAW, only JPG. Being new to the camera, I didn’t realize that the images were coming out rather blue, mostly because I was concentrating on focusing and metering. After 50 images on the wrong white balance I finally realized it and switched it to sunny.
This post is about fixing that mistake, we can talk about my camera default settings in another post. I also want to reveal what the pup is looking at. 😀
I will have a few after/before shots in this post to show how my method might work on many different images. Of course, the caveat being that all the images I tried this out on were taken at the same place around the same time under the same wrong white balance, so your results may vary.
Here is my After, the how and the wow will be discussed further in this post (click to enlarge)…
What is the pup looking at, you ask? A squirrel 😀 (click to enlarge)
Kind thoughts and comments are welcome!
Go find out what everyone else did this week for AB Friday Forum here.
Every Friday Stacy showcases after/before photos we’ve submitted. Then, if we choose, we can tell how we did it on our own blogs.
I thought of three ways to fix the white balance problem in GIMP*:
- Split-toning where I add the opposite color to the ‘problem’ color.
- Auto White Balance correction [Colors->Auto->White Balance].
- Pick a white or grey point in Levels [Colors->Levels].
I tried all three with varying results (click to enlarge)…
I felt the split-tone was a bit flat and was a lot of work with little reward. The Auto WB Correction worked well on this photo, but on others it was a disaster. Levels seemed to be the best of my choices; it didn’t require a bunch of steps, more often resulted in a good color balance, and increased exposure as needed at the same time.
Levels is a pretty neat tool, it has all kinds of options on it and I am constantly finding new ways to use it to alter my images. Today we will just cover using it to find a white point and/or a grey point in our image to try to fix a white balance problem.
Go to Colors->Levels…
You will get this option pop-up window…
When you click on one of these boxes (either grey point or white point), you will get an eyedropper as your cursor. Click on an area of your image that is white (with the white point) or middle grey (with the grey point). If you have neither a white nor a middle grey in your image, you will have to try something else.
Let’s explore trying this method on a few of my images (remember I have 50 images that are incandescent/tungsten instead of sunny or cloudy – so all of my images are way too blue).
On the opening image, I tried various places for the white point or grey point, settling on the dog owner’s pants as the best color balance. You will have to try various spots in your image until you find a good balance (click to enlarge)…
*** For the sake of this After-Before How-To, I further edited my image by adding a brightness-contrast layer (lowering brightness, increasing contrast), and a square gradient (50-30) to lessen the brightness of the buildings in the background. I also cropped the image. ***
For this white ship, I picked a grey on one of the passengers. When I tried the white of the ship the image looked too blown out. (click to enlarge)….
For this grey ship, I picked the white on one of the little white squares (click to enlarge)…
This image of the seal is one of those images that I may not be able to truly save. Picking a white point was impossible. Trying auto wb correction yielded bad results. Picking a grey point (his back) was only slightly better (and now the water looks rather purple). The split-tone is somewhat better but still doesn’t feel like I’m quite there yet (click to enlarge)…
So like I said at the beginning, it is one way to try to fix a white balance problem. It doesn’t always work.
Moral of the story?
Make sure your white balance is set correctly, or you may have a lot of work on your hands.
Do you have a tried and true method for fixing white balance problems with JPG images? Tell me about it in the comments section. Do you want to comment on the opening images or any of the other images in this post? I’d love to hear from you! 😀
Until next time…
* GIMP is Open Source software that is available for all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), it is a photo editor that does many (if not all) of the things you can do in Photoshop. You can download it for free here. The GIMP online manual can be found here.