I recently bought a white-balance card kit, as I didn't get consistency in my images. However, when I use the grey card in the set, my colours are always way too warm. I mean a lot. 8000K instead of say 5500-6500K. I make use of off-camera flashes with a temperature of about 6000K. I have tried this white-balance process on many different images and different scenes and it is always the case. When I use the white card the colour balance is different again. Not sure which one to use where. Can someone help? I use Lightroom for editing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How do you use the card? \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    Aug 5, 2016 at 7:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ .. and then how do you use Lightroom. i.e. can you describe the steps you're following before the shoot, during the shoot, and after the shoot. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5, 2016 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also consider the possibility that the gray card is intended for metering purposes rather than white balancing (unless it's indicated otherwise). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5, 2016 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ A color temperature of 8000°K would be cool compared to 5500°K -- the higher the temperature, the further you get into the blue end of the spectrum. A warm temperature would be more like the yellowish-orange light of Tungsten lights at 3200°K. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Aug 5, 2016 at 17:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you are setting WB off the card under ambient lighting, and then shooting with flash, the WB will be off. You need to set the WB from the card under the same lighting that you take your shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve Ives
    Aug 6, 2016 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


So many possibilities:

  • You are using the card incorrectly. (null) – When you set camera white balance, the card needs to be in the same lighting as the subject you are photographing. Place the card next to or over the subject when you set white balance.

  • You are using the software incorrectly. (EightBitTony) – I don't use Lightroom, so leave it to someone else to write out the procedure to obtain proper white balance using Lightroom.

  • Your monitor isn't correctly calibrated or profiled. (Michael C)

  • The card you are using is intended for metering, not white balance. (junkyardsparkle) / Or the card is not a high-quality product. (MirekE) – If the card has a blue tint, your images will be too orange. If it has an orange tint, your images will be too blue. White-balance "filters" commonly also have this problem.

  • You are setting white balance with ambient lighting, but using flash. (Steve Ives)

  • Digital cameras are designed to set white balance with white. Using gray or other colored objects may produce unexpected results. For instance, the camera may consider exposure to be insufficient and increase gain to compensate, increasing the effect noise has on the final white-balance setting.


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