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Whiter Whites

I recently picked up a 35mm Canon New F-1 and wanted some nice photos to share. I wanted the background to be all white so it’d look like it was floating on a white web page, like Flickr. While I might be shooting in a lightbox with a white background and good light, when the photo goes on the web and the page has a pure white background, you can really see how off-white the photo’s background is. Here’s a quick way to make the make those whites whiter in Lightroom with the Lens Correction tool.

This is the original image with a pure white border…

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First, let’s see where the whites are clipping. In Lightroom, just click on the arrow in the top right corner of your histogram to toggle the highlight clipping. All the red stuff is good, pure #FFFFFF whiteness…

 

Now, with the highlight clipping toggled, so we can see the red as we make adjustment, slide the Lens Correction Amount slider to the right until the red takes over the edges of the image. This photo was entirely red at around +80…

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Lens Correction is pretty smart and doesn’t seem to intrude too much on the darks or shadows. It added a tiny bit of brightness to the corners of the camera body, but not enough for me to bother correcting. If you’re background wasn’t lit very well and you have really dark edges, you can increase the exposure, brightness or highlights to bring the whole image up a little bit. You can also try adding some Post-Crop vignetting, although Post-Crop isn’t as smart as Lens Correction. Keep in mind, Lens Correction doesn’t take into consideration any cropping, so it’ll work better on an image that was properly framed.

Here’s the original photo next to the super white one, both with a pure white border…

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It looks nice on Flickr.