Here are two white-balance adjusted photos taken in two different lighting situations. Both photos were shot RAW and corrected using the white balance tool in Lightoom (using a large enough sample from the grey card shown in the bottom part of the picture).

with the blinds open, but no lights on

with the lights on but with the blinds closed

I am using the WhiBal G7 Certified Neutral White Balance Card, yet the image on top clearly has more of a yellowish tint compared to the second image. This is especially noticeable on the wall on the right side of the image and the fireplace stones.

What am I doing wrong?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ What are the lights? Are they mixed types? Are they falling evenly on the card and on the rest of the scene? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 30, 2014 at 0:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a window located on the right wall. The first shot was with the blinds open, but no lights on. The second shot was with the lights on but with the blinds closed. Either way, there should have been a pretty even distribution of light on the scene (as far as having the same amount of light on the grey card as the rest of the scene). \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonathan
    Nov 30, 2014 at 3:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. What type are the internal lights? Incandescent, fluorescent? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 30, 2014 at 3:28
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ You may have noticed that the black point patch on the second shot is nearly white. You're measuring a lot of specular (mirror-type) reflection from the card in addition to the diffuse (intrinsic "body colour") reflection. Just angling the card differently, so that it's still lit by the same light but there's no glare from the card, should make a huge difference. \$\endgroup\$
    – user34820
    Nov 30, 2014 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


Here are two white-balance adjusted photos taken in two different lighting situations.

Was the color temperature significantly different between the shots? With very different light sources you won't be able to achieve exactly same look with just a white balance card, especially if one of the lighting situations involved light sources like fluorescent bulbs. If this is the case and you absolutely need a better match, you could get closer with something like ColorChecker Passport, which samples multiple colors and corrects them individually and in a bit more sophisticated way.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As long as the light on the grey card is the same light as the rest of the scene, why would it matter if I used a fluorescent bulb? (Just FYI, I used regular light bulbs, not fluorescent). \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonathan
    Nov 30, 2014 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is the spectrum of the illumination that differs. It affects each color differently - in more complex way than what simple white balance can correct accurately. You will get overall balanced image (or at least neutral gray), but various colors will be slightly off. \$\endgroup\$
    – MirekE
    Nov 30, 2014 at 20:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.