Create Your Own White Balance Presets

by Derrick Story

In the past, I really liked the white balance presets in Adobe Camera Raw. Trying different options from the pop-up window in ACR let me preview different temperature/tint combinations for my Raw images. I'd been expecting to see similar functionality out of the box in Aperture, until the light bulb went on (that would be 2850K) that I could create it myself.

The process for building white balance presets in Aperture is quite simple. Start by entering a temperature/tint combination in the White Balance panel of the HUD - such as 5500K/10. Choose the "Save as Preset" from the pop-up menu and label it with the name you want, such as "Daylight." Continue through your list of settings until you've entered all of your presets.

Save as Preset

Once you have all of your presets configured, you can freely preview their effect on your images by selecting the one you want from the list.

Configured Preset List

If you want to return to the "as shot" white balance setting, just hit the "Reset to Default" arrow that's next to the presets pop-up menu. You can set as many presets as you want. If you want, you can start with this list as a starting point.

Starting Presets List

If you have additional temperature/tint combinations that you think would be helpful to others, please list them in the comments area of this post.


Kevin Zdyb
2006-11-09 11:21:56
I just recently started using Aperture and this was the FIRST thing that I missed about my previous workflow. I got used to using that in ACR and never realized that it was such a simple thing that the software was doing in reality......THANKS!!!
Allen Rockwell
2006-11-09 12:06:19
Cool tip Derrick.
I'm going to take it a step further and create a preset called "shop" for photos taken in my shop where there is a funky mix of fluorescent, incandescent and a white translucent skylight.
2006-11-09 19:23:02
Great tip. What camera did you set these up for? I shoot with a D2X and I get really odd default settings for WB. I'm sure this has to do with the encoded WB that Nikon is using and Apple's workaround. However, when I use the tool and click on a neutral gray card, the temp doesn't seem to be too far off, but the tint is always -15 to -25. And the temps seem to be about 500 deg cooler than yours.
2006-11-09 20:14:32
Actually, the settings I used for the starting point are from ACR with a Canon CR2 Raw file loaded up. But the cool thing about this trick (pun intended), is that you can take my starting points and adjust them for your own work. I also like the idea of creating presets for specific lighting situations that I encounter on a regular basis, plus things like underwater color correction. Real handy stuff.
Heath Clayton
2006-11-10 13:20:07
Great ideal, great post!

I would add a Sunrise / Sunset setting. Based on a shot of the Wave 2 in Arizona last month (Canon 20D RAW), I would suggest Temperature (3900K), Tint (-25). I would appreciate any feedback on a more accurate Sunset / Sunrise setting.

2006-11-10 13:39:26
WOW! Great stuff...
Sebastian Szyszka
2006-11-16 10:56:03
Isn't there a way to export presets in 1.5 and up? If there is, posting the file in this thread might be helpful.

Great site, looking forward to digging through it some more.


2007-01-23 12:02:06
Aperture has done a great job creating presets for every possible adjustment available. This is wonderful feature however, I see one major flaw. Unless I am missing something here, I have yet to figure out why Aperture does not allow all these individual presets to be combined into one overall or major setting. In ACR I could make as many presets that I wanted and each contained not only white balance but also adjustments to exposure, shadows, saturation, curves, sharpen and more. All adjustments are then added to your image with one click on an preset rather than selecting each and every adjustment. What a time saver that would be if all these individual adjustments could be combined into a managed major adjustment.

I do hope that Aperture becomes that smart or maybe a solution is out there and I am just not aware.

Jeff Greenough
2007-01-24 12:51:25
After reviewing more of Aperture's presets, I must say I am disappointed to see the you can not apply a preset to more than one image at a time. Again I do hope I am wrong but I do not see any way possible to apply a white balance preset to more than one image at a time. I am also having a very hard time getting this to also work with the lift and stamp feature. I am not sure why a program would not give users a simple approach to selecting multiple images and applying an exposure, level, white balance or a preset of those adjustments.
2007-03-02 03:23:34
For the life of me, I can't work out how to delete or modify presets I have created previously. Can anybody suggest how to do this? (I'm guessing that I'm missing something very obvious.)
2007-03-02 03:40:02
Okay, I feel stupid. Of course to delete a preset I can just use the delete key on the keyboard! D'oh!!!
Ryan J. Bonnell
2007-11-26 09:42:58
Aperture 1.5.x stores the custom adjustment presets (as well as Keywords and Metadata lists) in "~/Library/Application Support/Aperture/".

To export the presets, you'll need to do it manually by dragging the files in the Finder -- there is not way to have Aperture do it for you.