I had some poor lighting during a photo shoot (amateur) and ended up with pictures like the ones below.

Is there any easy way in Lightroom to correct and whiten the lights in these kind of pictures? I have many of them, so if it is a filter rather than using the brush, it would be much quicker. :)

Picture with yellowish lighting

Picture with yellowish lighting


6 Answers 6


The other answers here are correct that this is a white balance issue, but they have not answered your specific question, i.e. how to batch repair the white balance. Assuming that they were shot under similar lighting (which appears to be the case) the first step is to find the correct color temp in Lightroom. You can do this by either using the sliders and your personal preference or the eye dropper tool on a neutral color (white or gray).

Once you find the temp and tint values you want to use, you can then copy the settings (under the Settings menu, select Copy Settings or press Shift-Command-C [Mac] or Shift-Ctrl-C [Windows]) and pick just the white balance option (I also always use process version). Last step in the Library module select all the photos you need to adjust and then select Paste Settings (under Photo, Develop Settings, Paste Settings or Shift-Command-V [Mac] or Shift-Ctrl-V [Windows]) and they will be all fixed as a batch.

Depending on the lighting you may need to fix different photos in groups or tweak individual images, but this should help quite a bit.

  • Welcome to photography. Thanks for the detailed answer, though it is worth pointing out that at least 3 of the other answers already pointed out the dropper tool for correcting it, including recommendations of where to use the dropper. The addition of how to copy settings from one photo to others if they have multiple similarly exposed photos is certainly a decent addition though.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 11, 2013 at 17:40
  • Sorry if I broke a social rule by repeating content. I felt that an important part of the original question was the fact that he had a batch of photos that needed fixed. I should have better worded the fact that the batch white balance fix was the focus of my answer. Jul 11, 2013 at 17:45
  • no, you didn't break any social rule with repeating part, that's fine. I was just pointing out that your statement that none of the other answers had explained how to do what he was looking for wasn't accurate. Your answer is otherwise great and I voted it up.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 11, 2013 at 17:46

First you have to decide what color things really are. You were there, we weren't. For comparison, here is the second original:

Here is the result assuming the headband was a shade of gray:

The overall color ballance looks believable (again, you were there, we weren't) but the skin looks pale. To counter that, I cranked up the saturation a bit:

Now the real problem becomes more apparent. Notice the distinct bluish tinge of the background particularly in the lower left. That means at least two different color light source were used. It looks like at least two warm artificial lights, and probably some natural light thru a window to the left of the picture. Now that the picture is ballanced for the artificial lighs, the background where the model is mostly shadowing it from the artificial lights looks bluish.

Perhaps this is what you want, but if not, then basically the lighting was poorly done and these pictures are a mess. You can probably recover them with a lot of work, or just trash them and do it right next time.


Your white balance is off (probably) as a result of the over-exposed background. You need to adjust the white balance. If you shot RAW, using the dropper on either the whites of the eyes or the shirt should work well. You might have to correct the color balance a little by hand with the color balance sliders though.


You need to adjust the white balance, or color temperature, of you photos. If you saved the pictures in-camera as a RAW file, this is very easy to do with the software you use to convert your RAW images. If you saved the files as JPEGs, it is a little tougher to do without sacrificing some image quality.

For more information about White Balance see: What is the meaning of "white balance"?

For why you should use Custom WB instead of Auto WB in the future, see: What is the difference between auto white balance and custom white balance?

For how to set Custom WB see: Techniques to set custom white balance?


Here is the first image corrected. I just used the dropper tool in the white of the eye. The result is not perfect but it is very simple and you can change it to your taste. Of course, it is strongly recommended to work off raw files here. These are jpeg.

White Balance Corrected

Here is the second image corrected. Here I tried to work off the model's white shirt.

  • 1
    Biologic samples are rarely good color standards. The "white" of our eyes vary considerably, and are usually at least a bit reddish. The same goes for teeth, which are usually far from true white, and of course vary a lot. Jul 11, 2013 at 13:00
  • sure, that's why I said it wasn't that great. I find the second image better, where I used the white from the shirt. However, this definitely needs manual adjustment from the OP, preferably working from RAW files.
    – Unapiedra
    Jul 11, 2013 at 13:41

The first step is to set the white balance for a cooler color to correct this. Working with RAW files will help a good bit. If you had set your camera's white balance for incandescent or day light, it might have forced it to do a better job, as the auto-white balance didn't give you what you wanted. No guarantee though, as it looks like the studio is using mixed lighting.

If adjusting the white balance doesn't work for you (it will shift other yellow hued areas and warm tones to appear to be cooler), then you can also try adjusting the blue color channel using a "levels" tool in an application like Apple's Aperture or the equivalent in Adobe Photoshop or any other application permitting such changes. Usually you have the ability to alter the black, gray and white levels within that channel.

  • Altering the black will add or remove blue to the shadows.
  • Altering the gray will add or remove yellow to the midtones.
  • Altering the white will add or remove yellow to the highlights.

Start with the white levels on the blue channel and see what happens, then try to balance the effect out with the gray levels in your example photos. With enough experimentation you should end up with a decent looking picture.

Here is an example of a yellow cast photo that has been altered in this manner: Before and After Blue Levels adjustment
(source: apple.com)

Here is a link to a quick guide to using curves (similar to levels) if you don't have something like a levels tool - but this can be a little trickier to use. Just make sure you select the blue channel before adjusting the curve! http://www.pixeltraining.net/files/RGB%20Color%20Cheat%20Sheet.pdf

Edit: I just want to note that you will likely lose some of the punch from the yellow headband no matter what you do. Working with layers and/or brushes might help keep the changes to a specific region though.

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