One of the seemingly small things that Adobe Lightroom 4 added was the ability to do localized white balance adjustments. Localized adjustments have long saved many “bad” photos of mine from deletion; even when faces and such are underexposed by a stop or two (see the second example here), you can wind up saving a photo that otherwise just isn’t worth keeping. For example, this one was borderline for a number of reasons:
The framing is pretty bad and there’s hard ugly shadows, and nothing is really particularly good about the photo. But Valerie will usually scowl at the camera, and since I usually have to take pictures like this walking backwards while hoping the kids aren’t falling into the water, I can only hope for so much. The same approaches as were always possible address most things, but still leaves an issue:
Things aren’t as blown out as before, but the reflected light on the shadow areas is really cool (blue) compared to the warm light directly from the setting sun. Before, there was nothing you could really do about this. Now that you can tweak white balance on selective regions (which I already had to lighten the shadows areas), it’s one slider to warm things up a little:
An actual photographer, especially if working with the subject, would use a reflector, position the subject differently, shoot at a different angle, or any number of other things that are far superior solutions. But if I had a reflector (I don’t own one), I can pretty much guarantee that my kids would see how well it floats. Besides, I almost never set up or pose pictures, I just take them as they are (not that Valerie would have listened anyways). The final picture isn’t fabulous, but it met the threshold to not get deleted:
This also came in handy of a shot Valerie took of me. It’s a miracle when (a) Valerie uses the camera, (b) the resulting shot isn’t completely out of focus (in no small part to non-default focus behavior), and (c) it’s aimed at me. There were lots of problems with the original shot, but after some corrections it was OK but had a blue cast to it (though not as pronounced as the example above):
One slider adjustment, and things balanced a little better:
While I doubt I’ll often have to use this adjustment, it’s certainly nice that’s available!