Picasa Series [#11] Tuning Listing Photos - White Balance

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

If you have been following my Picasa Series, you'll know by now what an amazing all-around photo app that Picasa is (and free too!). If you use photos in presentation work (ahem nudge nudge Real Estate Agent, Home Stager, Home Inspector) then you should really consider a post-production phase for any photos that you take. Picasa makes it extremely easy to do so. Today's post will be focusing on one of the tools that you can use to correct problems with your photos. The tool I'll focus on today is the Neutral Color Picker Tool. (BTW, if you missed the other articles in the series, be sure to click the link above and my articles will be listed for you.)

Compare the two photos shown side by side below. Do you notice how the photo on the left has a bit of a yellow tint? The color of our photos is altered by the color of the light that illuminates the room we are in. You can make a setting on your camera called "white balance" to compensate for different color light. Most often though, you can leave your camera in "auto" mode and just as easily correct this in the post-production phase of your photo shoot. Picasa lets you do this correction quite easily. The photo below on the right is the "after" photo. See how the color has shifted so whites are more pure and untinted.

In Picasa, first you will need to go to the photo that you want to edit. On the left-hand tool palette, click onto the "Tuning Tab". At the bottom of the palette, you will see an eyedropper button and you will need to click it. Next, go into your photo and find a surface of an object that is white. Look for something that is well lit and not too deep in a shadow as that will not work as nicely. Click your eyedropper tool on the white surface and you will see Picasa adjust the color toning of your photo to compensate for proper white balance. If you don't like the result, you can always click the undo tuning button. So you can be more free to do trial and error without any problems. There also is a little magic wand button that you can also try "one click fix" for Picasa to try and estimate the best change for you.

Finally, I want to remind you that all of the editing in Picasa is non-destructive (meaning you can always go back to "original state" if you ever need to). This means that the original JPG file is not altered. So whatever tuning that you do, for example straighten, brighten, crop, etc - you will need to do the "export" command in order to create a file that incorporates all of your changes. The export command also allows you to create a copy file that smaller resolution file that is great for MLS and web pages and blogs. (see my article on the Picasa Export Command here)

Posted by

Craig Daniels
This blog is all about technology and helping you to use it smarter! Your digital footprint is your chance to attract new clients. What kind of impression are you making via your website, blog, and social media? We’ll be talking about that! Are you as productive as you can be? What apps might help you out? Do you know how to use all the best tools inside the apps? I enjoy photography and videography, you can expect to see those topics also on this blog.
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Comments (31)

Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Craig, your series are great!  Thanks for helping us out with all these great tips!  They certainly improve our blogging images!

Jan 29, 2011 03:25 AM
Deb Jamail
HomeLife Southern Properties - Galveston, TX
Galveston County Real Estate


You are vast resource of knowledge:)  Thanks for the Picasa series.  I use it, but not to its' fullest!


Jan 29, 2011 03:27 AM
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota/Wisconsin Real Estate Expert

The first photo really looked improved.  I agree...your posts are very helpful!

Jan 29, 2011 03:38 AM
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA


The method you use to apply the "eye dropper" is very note worthy.  You are the "master photo tuner."


Jan 29, 2011 03:54 AM
Raiza Schwartz
West USA Realty - Ahwatukee, AZ

Thanks Craig, I also like the fact that you put your simplified the series by letting us click above.  I will have to try this!

Jan 29, 2011 04:07 AM
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Aubrey and Associates Realty - Layton, UT
The C Team

Craig, great tip, I LOVE Picasa!  Great stuff!

Jan 29, 2011 04:11 AM
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

hello everyone - I appreciate your visit to my blog. I enjoy all of your comments! :)

Jan 29, 2011 04:54 AM
John McCarthy
North Hampton, NH
Realtor - Seacoast NH


Picasa is one editor I have not spent any time with, but it looks very user-friendly. Thank you so much for the lesson.

Jan 29, 2011 05:06 AM
Maya Swamy
Funds Available - Long Beach, CA
Ph.D. Long Beach, CA - fundsavailable.com

What a great series. This color tone adjustment will be really useful. Just like you example the light in most houses does make the pictures look more yellow.

Jan 29, 2011 06:22 AM
Melissa McKinney
McKinney Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com

Craig~ Thanks for ANOTHER great tip! I had not tried this option YET! I really do love the fact that Picas does not make changes to original, as you said you can always go back!

Jan 29, 2011 07:53 AM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Craig -- I have never taken a look at Picasa but will do so now. Also I need to check your series for brightening up dark photos.  I suppose it can be done in Picasa also.  Thanks for the great info. 

Jan 29, 2011 10:06 AM
Debra Davis
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Snellville, GA
Realtor - Atlanta, Decatur, Snellville, Loganville

You write very good tutorial blogs. I appreciate all you share with us.

Jan 29, 2011 12:05 PM
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

Ah yes, the white balance.  I've been screwing with the manual white balance on my camera as of late.  Thanks for the post as always, lots of good info and tips!

Jan 29, 2011 02:25 PM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

Thanks for your great Picassa series, Craig.  I am collecting them.

Jan 29, 2011 04:26 PM
Julia Hull
California Real Estate Mart, Inc. - Modesto, CA
Realtor Modesto, California

Sweet...I have some photos that I can now fix and share. Thanks for the great info. :)

Jan 30, 2011 08:58 AM
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Well I didn't know the eye dropper thing could do that too. Cool.

Jan 31, 2011 01:36 PM
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

Just an addition to your tutorial - the eyedropper also works off black as well as white. In other words, place it over something that should be pure black and click it and it will adjust off that. Picasa is smart enought ot know whether you are choosing black or white. . . . .

It will work off middle gray (18% gray) as well but the chances of having something precisely middle gray in your photo is pretty remote.

Feb 01, 2011 10:17 AM
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Eric - thanks for the additional thought - I'll give that a try next time I get a chance - thx :)

Feb 01, 2011 10:24 AM

I didn't even know that you could do this in Picasa.  Thanks for putting this together.

Feb 01, 2011 10:59 AM
Karen Searle, Home On Display
Peterborough, ON

Thanks for the tips.  I use Picasa all the time but my favourite is still Picnik.  I have so much fun using their holiday features and playing with their special techniques.  It is also free but I always choose to upgrade my account in order to use their special features.  This costs $25 for the whole year, which feels like a pretty good deal to me.

Apr 15, 2011 08:32 AM

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