Gray|Grey Cards and White Balance are the Key to Great Photos and Videos

Gray Grey Card White Balance

Poor color in your photos is bad. If the color in your photos is off, your image can look amateur. Worse yet, if it is a product image and your customer receives a product that is a different color shade, they will probably be unhappy.

What is the easiest way to correct this? Well, you can use Auto Levels and Auto Curves in Photoshop… But you might not get the perfect result.

This is where Gray (or Grey) Cards and White Balance come in. Think of them as secret ingredients.

Gray Grey Card White Balance

TIP: You can also use the steps below with videos (using software like Adobe Premiere).

To use a gray card, you take a test photo while holding the gray side toward the camera. The gray card should be placed/held approximately where your subject(s) will be positioned. You should also make sure that the card is angled to receive the same kind of lighting your subjects or product items will receive.

Once you have your test photo using your gray card (it actually wouldn’t hurt to take two or even three test shots – just in case), you can continue to take your photos as you normally would.

After you have shot your photos, load your gray card test photo(s) into Adobe Photoshop (or Adobe Lightroom) and do the following:

• Open your test image with your gray card in Photoshop.

• Create a Levels Adjustment Layer.

• You will see three eyedroppers stacked vertically and to the left of the Levels histogram. Select the middle eyedropper, then click on the gray card in your image. Photoshop automatically adjusts the image’s color levels.

• To apply these settings to your other images (that where shot in the same lighting conditions), click the drop-down menu in the top-right of the Levels pop out box and select “Save Levels Preset.”

• Name your preset and and save it. Then open up your other image file(s) for editing.

• For each image, find the “Load Levels Preset” from the drop-down menu in the Levels pop out box and select your saved preset file to apply it.

To do the same thing in Lightroom:

• Select the White Balance eyedropper tool in the Levels pop out module and click on the gray card in your image.

• Highlight all the images you want to color correct and click the “Sync” button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

• Check “White Balance” and then click “Synchronize”.

• Watch, as the fairy dust does its work.

Now that you know the power of the Gray Card, you should get your own. I recommend this product. The set includes a 50% neutral gray card, a white card and a black card. They are great quality but inexpensive.

Gray Grey Card White Balance

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