White Balance Metadata

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Today’s Question: Does the white balance setting in the camera determine the “as shot” white balance setting in Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, the “As Shot” option in the “WB” (White Balance) section on the right panel in the Develop module in Lightroom will establish the same values for Temperature and Tint as were established by the camera at the time of capture.

More Detail: When you establish white balance settings in your camera, those settings are recorded in the metadata for your images. Those values, in turn, are used by various software to determine the initial values for the Temperature and Tint controls you can use to fine-tune your results when processing your captures.

In other words, if you use the “As Shot” option in Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, or other software for processing your captures, you will have established the same overall color balance as was set in the camera. You can then fine-tune from there to optimize the color in the image, in addition to applying various other adjustments.

I should add that there have been some exceptions with certain camera models over the years, with the white balance information being “hidden” in private metadata that software such as Lightroom couldn’t see. But that is somewhat rare, and I don’t know of any current camera models that have this limitation.