Lightroom has tools for correcting color not just across the entire image but also for correcting individual colors.

This image was captured in New York’s Time Square where the light is unpredictable at best especially at night because of the bright advertisements and neon signs. Because the colors of the lights change constantly it’s impossible to correct the color in camera using its white balance adjustment. Instead this has to be handled in post production.

Step 1
To start off color correcting an image in Lightroom’s Develop module, open the Basic panel and click the White Balance Selector which is the eyedropper in the top left corner of the panel.

Deselect the Auto Dismiss checkbox on the toolbar so the tool remains visible. Click on the image in a place that should be neutral gray to adjust it. If you don’t get the right correction the first time, click again on a different area of the image until you get an adjustment that looks correct to you. What you’re looking to do at this point is to remove the overall colorcast in the image.

Notice as you hold the White Balance Selector over the image that the Loupe shows a gird of pixels around the area you have the mouse held over and it also shows the relative percentages of red, green and blue in the pixels over which the mouse is hovering. Where the color in an image should be neutral grey, these values should be the same and if they are not, there is a color cast.

When you have a result you like, either return the White Balance Selector to its position in the Basic panel or press Escape.

Step 2
If some individual colors are still incorrect you can adjust these using the HSL panel. To do this, select HSL and then Saturation and use the Targeted Adjustment Tool to drag on an area of the image downwards to decrease or upwards to increase the color saturation at that point in the image. In this case, the skin needed to be desaturated because of the color of the light reflected on it.

Step 3
When you have adjusted Saturation, click Luminance and, if necessary use the same Targeted Adjustment tool to increase or decrease the Luminance in areas that are too dark or too light.

For this image I decreased the Saturation and increased the Luminance of the skin tones until I had a result I liked.

Once you’ve fixed the color problems, you can return to the Basic panel and continue to adjust the image using the tools there.

While sites like Times Square will never be an ideal place to capture images you can compensate at some level for poor color using the tools you have at hand in Lightroom.

Helen Bradley