How to Adjust Exposure and White Balance in Lightroom for Big Results

Today’s post comes from Heather at Two Blooms – Lightroom Presets!

As photographers, sometimes we can make the mistake of not changing our camera settings under different lighting conditions. I can’t tell you how many times I have had the PERFECT shot, but it was underexposed because I failed to change my settings in that moment.

As digital photographers, we are very fortunate to have programs to help us recover a poorly exposed image, Lightroom in particular. I could go on and on about the benefits of using Lightroom as a professional photographer, but today I am just going to cover one point: exposure and white balance. I will guide you how easy and quick it is to correct an underexposed image.

As you can see, the photo I will be correcting today is very underexposed and also off in color (white balance).


To correct exposure and white balance, we will be working with the panel on the right hand side of our lightroom develop module.

2-before panel


Step one:

First thing I will do is change the exposure by sliding the exposure slider over to the right. Moving the slider to the right will over expose the original photo, as moving it to the left will under expose the original photo. As you can see, I have moved the slider to the right to a +1.07, which simply means I have added a 1.07 stop of light to the photo.

3-after exposure


Step two:

After bumping up the exposure, you can now see that the photo is slightly cool in color. This is a white balance issue that can also be fixed easily in Lightroom. To me, the photo looks slightly blue with a hint of magenta. With that observation, I have moved the temperature slider to the right to offset the blue tones; this creates a custom white balance in Lightroom (note that the WB option changed to “as shot” to “custom” after I changed the slider). To offset the magenta tones in the photo, I have also moved the tint slider 7 points to the left towards the green side.

4-after temperature


Just by correcting exposure and color temperature, the photo quality has drastically improved. Since I have also taken this photo in RAW format, the photo itself isn’t degraded and does not appear to have been corrected in post processing.


Heather is a lifestyle family photographer based out of Cincinnati, OH and also the owner of Two Blooms – Lightroom Presets. Visit Heather on her website or Facebook!

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4 Responses to How to Adjust Exposure and White Balance in Lightroom for Big Results

  1. renee says:

    Thank you so much for this information! It’s so helpful to those of use still learning.

  2. Dan Ward says:

    Simple yet extremely effective advice! Top work as always from this site :)

  3. Hi, really nice and easy tutorial to give a nice touch to some photos.

  4. It’s very easy to understand. Thanks for sharing.

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