How should someone with red-green deficiency in colour vision set tint in Lightroom or other post-processing tools??

Are there any external tools (other than asking someone) that say whether white balance is acceptable?

Are there any other tips related to white balance and colour blindness?


  • That's an interesting question. It makes me think of the Psych episode with the blind photographer.
    – AJ Henderson
    Aug 27, 2013 at 20:20
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    You do the best that you can using the same techniques as anyone who is not color blind, then you do ask for help. That is all there is to it. I am quite red-green deficient and this technique has served me well.
    – dpollitt
    Aug 27, 2013 at 21:27
  • Odd suggestion: use daylight white balance for all your photos. I do it and it happens that my photos preserve atmosphere because of that and do not loose anything important. Apr 25, 2016 at 12:51

7 Answers 7


I am colour deficient so I often have this problem that I think a picture looks boring when others think it looks great, and they say pictures I like look weird.

Here is an example, where people said the tiger is green [left] and it is much better the [right]:

green tiger

Frankly, I can't see the difference, not even side by side.

So I have to go about it scientifically. I know the white part is white. I can see on the histogram that I didnt clip it, so I can trust it. I know it was cloudy, so I can pick white balance "cloudy".


"reference" is the "green" one.

I can also colour pick, but that tends to yield cold bluish pictures for me.


Now the tiger looks blue. Normal monitors have a bias towards blue. I dont know if my colour vision also has it, but you can decide if you prefer the look of this on your monitor.

However, the white is now "scientifically correct" (with some rounding).

white is white

Here I use the "white" fur as my "grey card". if there is no "white" , you need to bring your own.

  • could you post the same picture with colors you'd like (and others would find weird) ? Feb 18, 2014 at 12:02
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    the first one [left] that ppl call green was my first choice. then people teased me that the tiger had a green coat. So I set the WB to cloudy for the [right] image and that made people happy. Choosing cloudy preset changed colour temp slightly and also tint. Feb 18, 2014 at 14:58
  • People who are not color blind/deficient can follow along by looking at the images through a red filter.
    – xiota
    Jul 10, 2018 at 7:26

You need a gray card (pro tip, the inside of most camera bags is a reasonable excuse for a gray card). Use it to set the White Balance manually in camera before you start shooting. Or be sure and take a shot of one and then use it in post (with the eye dropper tool), to set white balance and use that value for all the images shot in the same lighting conditions.

The biggest place this will fail it shooting in gyms and other places with powerful artificial lighting and fast shutter speeds (indoor sports). I have been in some gyms that where every shot has different color tones and worse yet sometimes more than one color cast in the same shot.

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    But what if I want to make artistic decisions? (or simply a gray card is not an option) I would like to change it, but still have a check that most people will find it okay.
    – Unapiedra
    Aug 27, 2013 at 21:25
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    What do you mean by artistic? if you are after a warm/cool look I would say that you still go with the gray card and based on then limit yourself to a particular delta +/- (>800? this is a matter of personal taste) in temp. As for split toning or more artistic treatments, I am not a fan, but I suspect that you are still going to be able to use the "correct" color temp as a reference and then make your treatments -- sometimes I know someone want this look and I do not like it, I always have my wife review them -- she loves all the trendy treatments :-) Aug 27, 2013 at 22:18
  • So, if you have a party in a room with 3200K lights, do you really want all your photos to turn out cold bluish, which is what you get if you set the WB for 3200K? Or do you want the images to have the same warm cast as everything in the room actually had? Dec 25, 2013 at 10:06
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    You still want to know what neutral is and then apply judgement from there on. As he said, if you are not able to judge the end result because of some form of color blindness, it's a reason more to premeasure (or postmeasure) with a gray card, and give yourself thresholds for final adjustments.
    – Marco Mp
    Feb 18, 2014 at 10:23

There's a way to use the RGB histogram in Photoshop to fix this. Basically, you're going to need to know what points should be void of color and then use the RGB values to identify if there is a color cast on that point. Then use levels/curves to adjust the picture to bring that point to a neutral color and bringing the rest of the picture along with it.


  • You can also use the picker tool of Lightroom itself. However it's very very hard to define what should be a neutral point. White walls are not really white, white shirts have color casts, etc. I'd premeasure (or post measure) with a gray card.
    – Marco Mp
    Feb 18, 2014 at 10:16

Well, there is no "color blind person", as color blindness can be one of several types.

To understand the issue for people with normal color vision, this site is invaluable: http://colorschemedesigner.com/

After checking out the difference between the colors a color blind and normal vision person sees, I think I can safely say that a color blind person should not use tinting, if the target audience is people with normal vision. You may kill colors that are powerful and important for people with normal vision. I may be wrong, and you might develop a mental mapping between colors you see and colors you intend to show with training with a person with normal vision though, but that can be a tough training and I do not know whether it will actually succeed.

I would suggest that you ask for help for creative tinting just when you start working. You should also check if the contrast you see nice is a contrast a person with normal vision considers nice. If so, then you can edit contrasts, do color-keeping operations (your best bet is to work in Lab, and adjust only the L channel). You should also ask for help when proofing the final version.

Eventually you might find out what people with normal vision like.

There are no foolproof methods to objectively determine if the white balance is right or off, except using a reference white or preferably gray card, and calibrating the white balance for that target. However, most of the time, using that results in a too realistic photo, and we usually do not prefer that. E.g. when the Sun is going down, we see orange light, and that is a nice color on a face, it creates a nice effect. Now, if you correct that white balance, you will have a plain face and no color effect...

My last advice is to always choose a person to help from the audience you want to target with your photos. Even preferably: more than one. You want to skip those who think too much, or too engineers. No problem with those guys, but you want to create an emotion and not logical thinking, if you see what I mean.


To add to some good answers above, there is a tool called ExpoDisc that you can use to determine the scene white balance when your shooting. That way you won't be guessing in LightRoom. The price is reasonable and the method is sound. Here's a link to Amazon's information and reviews.


What you need is a white-balance card to get colors appear natural most of the time. You can set the Custom WB to it before the shoot or just sneak it into one of the photos under each lighting conditions.

In many scenes, there are objects which should be white or least close-to-white. Any white linen of even people's eye. Don't forger that grey is dark white too. Results can be less accurate but if you know there is something that should be neutral grey. Calibrate fro that.

The final check if you made strong changes is to get someone to check it out for you, just make sure to do it on a fully calibrated display or it wont be any good. Don't sent it to your friend's phone and ask if the colors are good!


Try using an Xrite Color Passport. The suggestions of using white or grey card or Expodisc are good if you want neutral color. If you want creative adjustments, the Xrite Color Passport has a handy area that you can use to warm or cool the photo by using the eyedropper tool on squares that are not quite white.

Also do a search for skin tones by the numbers. There are lots of good references explaining how to adjust a shot with skin tones by looking at CMYK values (or other color models). These techniques concentrate on pleasing colors rather than accurate colors.

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