How To Adjust White Balance Using A Gray Card

White balance can be tricky and even a big headache when editing images.  

You know the story ... you are super excited to rush home and see the goodies on your camera only to find out that your white balance was so off that the time needed to fix it in Photoshop is enough to drive you insane.  

For under $20 I stumbled upon the solution that you can use every time you go on a shoot - because it's simply that amazing and easy to do!  

I bought this gray card from Amazon - you can find it here:  WhiBal G7 Certified Neutral White Balance Card - Pocket Card (2.1"x3.35").  

For under $20 this little gadget is going to change your world!  




Step 1 - The Setup Shot

Take a test photo, correct exposure and place the gray card in the area you will be focusing.  You can have your subject hold this near their face to get the best skin color.  


Step 2 - Take The Real Photograph

You can remove the gray card from the scene after you have a good test shot.  


Step 3 - The Editing Begins

Open the raw files into Photoshop and click on the gray card image.  

Adjust exposure to this image first as well as sharpening.  This is important to do FIRST. Next select the white balance dropper found on the horizontal toolbar and then click on the gray card.  

Your photo will be properly white balanced at this time. Next Click on the drop down button over in your tools section seen below and click "Save Settings".  

Save preset  


Step 4 - Applying To Other Photos

Now that you have saved your white balanced preset for this session you can click on all the images from that session and then go back to the drop down in your tools and "Load Settings".  That's it.  

Simple and Easy!  

How To Adjust White Balance Using A Gray Card

How To Adjust White Balance Using A Gray Card


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  • Stacie Jensen

    Creating a preset OR selecting all the photos and applying WB (as you describe) is also a great way to do it BUT you are missing the important part of creating the preset – adding all the sharpening and contrast to the first one as well as the white balance and then having it to apply to anything in that lighting. It’s a difference of 1 second to make the preset. Yes you would select ALL photos and apply that preset to ALL the images. So really just potato / potato there.

  • Stacie Jensen

    yes, you just need to update your ACR and you will have the gray dropper.

  • Kat

    How can one use this with an older version of PS. I have CS3 and I don’t think there is a wb tool so when using a gray card I adjust in post using the Levels tool. Is there an easier way?

  • Deej

    My only comment is the process of making a preset from this hits me as kind of wasteful. It will only be useful for that session and that lighting instance.

    Why not pull up the photo with the card in it as the photo being viewed in the workspace, then select ALL THE PHOTOS that were taken in that lighting and when you use the WB dropper that WB change will automatically be applied to all selected photos.

    Or am I incorrect in that assumption?

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