Are You Wasting Your Time Setting Your White Balance In-Camera if You’re Shooting in RAW?

When you open your RAW image in Lightroom or Photoshop, it displays your image with the White Balance you chose in camera, but of course you can change your White Balance at this stage to anything you want. So, if the White Balance you chose in camera isn’t “baked into the shot,” and you can easily change it after the fact, is it a waste of time to set the correct white balance in camera?”

Above: I was shooting with the white balance set to Fluorescent because that’s the last white balance I had set in my camera and I didn’t change it at the start of this shoot.

I recommend getting it right in camera…

…but not for the old school reasons you might be thinking. When you’re shooting and you look at the back of the camera and you can see the white balance is off , and you know you can fix it later in LR or PS, does seeing that totally “off” image inspire you? Is there some value to you to seeing the image with the correct color on the back of the camera? I think there is.

Don’t you want to look at the shot on the back of your camera and be like, “Yeah, this looks great!!!” because when you see the image looking right on the back of your camera, it inspires you. When you’re inspired, it helps unlock your creativity; it helps you to make better images, and it’s less work later in LR or PS. When the images come into Lightroom, the color is already right so you’re starting in a good place right from the beginning with one less step (correcting the White Balance) on your editing plate.

Above: Here’s what it looks like with the White Balance set correctly in-camera.

So, how long does it take to properly set your White Balance in your camera. 15 seconds, 20 seconds? In this case I would just press the the WB button on my camera, switch my White Balance setting to “Flash” and I’m done. Even if it took a minute (it won’t), wouldn’t that one minute be worth it if it helps inspire you, helps to make you make better images and saves you time later in post? That’s why I recommend to photographers to set their White Balance right in the camera. Worth considering. :)

Here’s wishing you an awesome, safe, fun, color correct June. :)


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