A Light Bulb Moment

Great Bridge Lock Park | Chesapeake, VA
Great Bridge Lock Park | Chesapeake, VA

Over the weekend I had a very literal light bulb moment. Something small, that made a very big difference. I changed the light bulbs in our living room and bedroom.

We had initially put Daylight LED bulbs in all of our fixtures and, while it was nice and bright, it made our rooms feel a bit sterile.

I was hesitant to change out the light bulbs (again). They were new, and LED bulbs are anything but cheap. But I’d found myself less than content with the feeling of the rooms we’d just thrown our hearts & souls into remodeling. While the rooms looked perfectly pleasant, they were lacking something almost intangible – warmth. Not the heat variety – more that ethereal feeling of a comfortable home where you relax and want to spend time.

I bit the bullet and bought new Soft White light bulbs – and the transformation was immediate. Even though we don’t yet have any artwork on the walls, and furniture is still being adjusted into its place, our little condo felt a bit more like home. Isn’t it amazing what the color of the light can do to transform the feeling of a scene?

As a photographer, I’m not sure why I didn’t make this connection sooner. White Balance (color temperature) is one of the first things I address – both when I shoot and in post processing. Cooling off a photo (blue tones) or adding warmth (yellow tones) can completely change the feel of a photograph.

Take this photograph for example:


I increased the temperature (added warmth) and it totally changed the feel of the photo.

Adjusting white balance in Lightroom is crazy easy. In the Develop module, navigate to the “Basic” panel on the right. Simply drag the “Temp” slider to the right (warm, yellow tones) or left (cool, blue tones) to achieve your desired look and mood.

In the end, white balance and color temperature are very subjective. While I prefer the warmth in the “after” version of this photo, you might prefer the “before” version. Either way, white balance is a very powerful way to enhance your photographs!

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