I just noticed that when in Lightroom I sync white-balance between multiple images the colour temperature and tint of the source image is not just copied over to the target images, but somehow computed.

In the example below I have a raw source image that is shot with auto white-balance on a Canon 550D. The white-balance is set to "As-Shot" in Lightroom.

My source image has the following white-balance properties:

Temp: 5100K
Tint: 23

Source image:
Source image for WB sync

When I sync this with another image, that image gets the following white-balance properties:

Temp: 5550
Tint: 49

Target image:
Target image for WB sync

My expectation was that syncing white-balance would make the temp. and tint values equal of the two images.

So how does Lightroom compute which temp. and tint is needed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you doing a true synch (<ctrl>-s on a PC) in the edit tab? Or are you doing an 'automatic' balance in the library tab? \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 1:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the Develop module I select the source image, then cmd+click (= ctrl+click on a PC) on the target image, then press "Sync..." in the lower right corner and check white-balance checkmark and click "Synchronize" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 1:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I assume the originals are raw format? Were they shot with Auto white balance, custom white balance or a fixed setting? And was the temp/tint of the source file you used to sync adjusted in Lightroom, or is it still as shot? My guess is it's applying a relative adjustment to the synched image rather than an absolute one. In other words, if you warmed up the original a bit, then sync, it may simply warm up the other image by the same relative amount. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


Does the second image now have the white balance As Shot? I believe it must. So the colour and tint 5550K/+49 is the original in-camera setting?

If your source image has the setting "As Shot" and you sync, all your target images should be set to "As Shot". So it will not match colour and tint, it will match the As Shot setting, so each image is reset to how it was in-camera.

If you change your original image to Custom, but leave the colour at 5100K and tint at +23, then sync, all target images will be set to Custom, 5100K and +23.

I've done the following in Adobe camera raw (equivalent to Lightroom Develop module, so likely works the same).

Source Image: Auto white balance, As Shot, 6100K + 2

Target Image: Auto white balance, As Shot, 4950K + 9

Sync #1 - source left on As Shot setting (no changes)

  • after sync, target unchanged - still As Shot, 4950K + 9

Sync #2 - source changed to Custom, 6150K + 3

  • after sync, target changed to 6150K + 3 to match source (so absolute adjustment made, not relative)

Sync #3 - change Source to "Custom", colour/tint 6100K +2 (same as in-camera)

  • after sync, target changed to Custom 6100K + 2
  • note that target had no change to colour/tint, values were original
  • only change to source was changing As Shot to Custom, and this triggered a change to target

Sync #4 - target was changed to "Cloudy" 6500K + 10 and saved. Source still As Shot.

  • target changed back to As Shot
  • note that source was completely unchanged, so target changed back to As Shot even though no change to source

So in summary, if source has Custom white balance set, then all target images will be set to match the same colour and tint. But if source is As Shot, then target images will be set to As Shot, meaning they will all have their original as-shot settings which may be different than the source image.


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