Lightroom Videos

Video – White Balance for JPEGs and TIFFs

I gotta say, when I discovered this week’s video tip I was pretty excited. I shoot in Raw 100% of the time now but I’ll still have to deal with JPEGs because a) I have older files that I didn’t shoot in raw, b) I’ll have files from my wife’s point-n-shoot that are JPEGs, c) some one gives me a file to work on that isn’t raw. Well, one of the biggest challenges is getting the right color balance and Lightroom’s white balance preset list (Cloudy, Flash, Daylight, etc…) help out a lot. But they don’t work on JPEGs right? Wrong! They do. I’ll show ya how in this week’s video.

Have a safe and happy new year everyone!

Click here to download the video



  1. Alex the Photo Guy 5 January, 2009 at 18:08 Reply

    Here’s a possibly related, but possibly unrelated question:

    I shoot with a canon 30d and do most of my postprocessing in Lightroom. I’ve lately been doing portraits and weddings with available light (and some flash photography).

    I have found that what takes me the most time in post-prod is white balance and getting skin tones to look right, while also getting colors to pop. For example, doing a child portrait outside on a partly cloudy day. I usually set the camera WB to auto because I may be in the shade, sun, or clouds at any given point on the same shoot. Even the preset that are in LR2 aren’t a cure all and I find I spend a lot of time teaking them.

    Does anyone recommend the use of a white balance card? Should I get one that’s a neutral reference for post production (a reference point in lightroom) or one that I set my custom white balance in-camera to?

    What about the white balance products that are used as a lens cap where you take a test shot through it and set the camera’s white balance?

  2. Dennis Zito 2 January, 2009 at 23:14 Reply

    Hey Matt,

    Ya know, that was such an easy thing to do, but your the only one that thought about it. It’s been driving me crazy not to be able to use the White Balance for my Jpgs and Tiff. It was staring me in the face all the time.

    Great Tip!


  3. Dan Bobrowsky 1 January, 2009 at 12:08 Reply

    In the video it says the presets were published on December 3, 2007. It appears that it was actually November 26, 2007.

  4. Gary Nelson 1 January, 2009 at 07:15 Reply

    I appreciate the tip Matt.

    One of the things I liked about Lightroom 1.0 was the fact that you could, in fact, choose a white balance setting for jpg files. Then when I installed the 1.1 upgrade that ability was gone, leaving just the auto setting.

    As a webmaster for a team basketball site I frequently get a whole batch of jpgs submitted to me by someone else. Usually the white balance is way off and I frequently would like to just set them all to tungsten. Now I can do that again.

  5. Graphfruit 1 January, 2009 at 00:39 Reply

    Great tip indeed!
    I have a bunch of old JPGs (before I went for shooting RAW) which aren’t post processed, so I’ll definitely be using this preset workaround.

    I wish You all a Happy New Year 2009!

  6. Michael Warf 31 December, 2008 at 15:48 Reply

    Hrm…I just had a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment with this technique. Thanks for sharing – I haven’t shot .jpg in two years, but there are occasional times when you “run and gun” through .jpgs because you feel the job is quick and dirty, and you’ll deliver them straight out of camera. Its nice to see you can alter things after the fact!

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