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Archive 2011 · A question about color correction
  
 
friscoron
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · A question about color correction


This is something that's always bothered me. To me, color is pretty subjective and you adjust your color correction for each shot. But for portrait shots, when you're trying to make the color as real as it can be, it shouldn't be so subjective. It seems there should be a systematic way of doing it. Note: this is cropped just to focus on the color. Lights are main and fill at 45 degrees, they wanted the Sears portrait, not dramatic lighting. Two lights also on the background.

I'm pretty much self-taught, so that means there's a lot I haven't learned. Things I haven't even known to ask. So here's my big question. How do you color-correct, and know the color is what it should be?

Here are two examples.

1. Straight out of the camera. It has a yellowish hue which is the norm for my camera. The background is black, and lit so it will be gray.






2. Some editing. Check my notes below.






I open in Bridge and often use the White Balancing Tool, hitting on various white spots to see how the color changes. I rely on my subjectivity as to what I end up with. In this case, hitting the woman's teeth gave me this color. I then opened it in Photoshop and adjusted the color balance some. But I still see too much yellow green in her face, and yet his face is too pink. The background now has a blue tint to it. That's what led to my finally posting this question to you guys. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say.



Nov 15, 2011 at 02:26 PM
CRFTony
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · A question about color correction


To me, the photo looks very, very cool. I always lean toward warmed tones in my editing, but look at the boy's shirt. I'd bet that was white and in the edit, it had an obvious blue tone.


Nov 15, 2011 at 02:32 PM
_Rob_S_
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · A question about color correction


I'm very interested in this as well, also self taught and lacking much!

I don't find your original off that much and the tweak is very blue to me. Normally, when I use the WB dropper, I pick a grey area, not white. In this shot, I would have picked something on the boys sweater, lower left.

Looking forward to other replies.

Rob



Nov 15, 2011 at 02:33 PM
J4644
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · A question about color correction


Hi Ron,

If I am not mistaken you probably should be trying to click on a neutral gray color with the white balance dropper. I think you should try that. I see that you have some good neutral grays in the boy's sweater for example. Also, the first image IMHO is closer to where you want to be. I would use the tool to get you in the ballpark and adjust to taste from there. I assume you are on a color calibrated monitor.

There also are formulas for different skin tones such as caucasians etc. that alter the ratios of red, green and blue, but I have found them to be just another way to get you in the ballpark. Maybe someone else can comment further on those. I think you are ultimately going to tweak these using your own eye and what looks best to you.

Jim



Nov 15, 2011 at 02:36 PM
benee
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · A question about color correction


The SOOC shot is infinitely better. The other shot is way too cool.


Nov 15, 2011 at 02:39 PM
dmendlik
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · A question about color correction


So you have a gray background and you decided to WB on someone's teeth? How often do you see perfectly white teeth?

Second image is way too blue.

You may also want to consider that your lights/lights modifiers aren't balanced. Seems to me that your left side of the image is warmer than the right side, that might be part of your issue.



Nov 15, 2011 at 02:53 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · A question about color correction


_Rob_S_ wrote:
I don't find your original off that much and the tweak is very blue to me. Normally, when I use the WB dropper, I pick a grey area, not white. In this shot, I would have picked something on the boys sweater, lower left.
Rob


Nice, Rob. I was under the (mis?)understanding that I was supposed to click on white. I picked some gray areas, still didn't like the color.

I do agree that the second image is too cool. I'm just hoping there's a way to do this without it being completely subjective. Right now, to me, the first image is just way too warm.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:12 PM
BubbaJon
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · A question about color correction


First off get a colorchecker or passport and use it. It will save you much grief.
Second - these are strobes. Daylight balance. You should be able to select daylight or flash for your photo and be pretty dang close with little if any variation between frames.
Third - a tip. If you're color balancing using the eyedropper tool use a shaded/shadow area of something that is as close to neutral as you can find. There is a better chance of being neutral in the shadows - not the highlights. Assuming his shirt is white use the shadow under the lapel of his shirt to try a balance. Do not use teeth - they are ivory. Standard retouching practice to whiten teeth is to lower the yellow saturation.
regards,
Jon



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:13 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · A question about color correction


J4644 wrote:
Hi Ron,

If I am not mistaken you probably should be trying to click on a neutral gray color with the white balance dropper. I think you should try that. I see that you have some good neutral grays in the boy's sweater for example. Also, the first image IMHO is closer to where you want to be. I would use the tool to get you in the ballpark and adjust to taste from there. I assume you are on a color calibrated monitor.

There also are formulas for different skin tones such as caucasians etc. that alter the ratios of red,
...Show more

Thanks, Jim, this is helpful. But it's still subjective. We all have different styles, a different eye for color, etc., so it's interesting to me how differently any one picture might turn out.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:15 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · A question about color correction


BubbaJon wrote:
First off get a colorchecker or passport and use it. It will save you much grief.
Second - these are strobes. Daylight balance. You should be able to select daylight or flash for your photo and be pretty dang close with little if any variation between frames.
Third - a tip. If you're color balancing using the eyedropper tool use a shaded/shadow area of something that is as close to neutral as you can find. There is a better chance of being neutral in the shadows - not the highlights. Assuming his shirt is white use the shadow under the lapel of
...Show more

Hi Jon, thanks -- again, this is helpful. Is a colorcheck or passport a software program, or are you talking about when I'm doing the shot itself? Second tip, I should start using, agreed.
Third tip makes sense, I do use the yellow desaturation in Photoshop to whiten teeth when necessary.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:18 PM
 



danchez
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · A question about color correction


if you don't want to be subjective, get a grey card, take a few test shots with it so you can set your WB later in post, and to just back up what others are saying, never use teeth to set your white balance. Also, are you using all the same strobes? If so, you should be able to find out what temp they are and you can set your WB that way too.


Nov 15, 2011 at 03:22 PM
kensglamour
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · A question about color correction


My suggestion, if you are proficient in Bridge and Photoshop, then shoot in Raw. Use Open the image in Raw and look at the different setting of White Balance. "As shot" will give you the image out of the camera. If you want a warm tone, use "Cloudy" or "Shade". "Flash" will sometimes give a blue tone. It doesn't matter that you shot with flash, just use one of the other tools to make it look more appealing. Then, when you open the image in Photoshop, you can modify it further, but many times the color will be what you are looking for just with the Raw adjustment.


Nov 15, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · A question about color correction


The Colorchecker and Passport are color/grayscale targets that you include in a shot to check white balance and/or to create a color profile for your camera to be used with your post-processing software.

I would say you first image is very close to neutral - not yellow. If anything, it could use a slight boost to the green. The background in particular has a slight magenta cast. That is a judgement based on viewing and also checking neutral areas in Photoshop. I find that "checking the numbers" along with viewing the image is the best way to double-check that you are on the right track.

If you are seeing the first image as "yellow", I strongly suspect that you have a monitor calibration issue. You may have ambient light in your workspace that is skewing your perception or you may be using an inappropriate white point or there may be some other problem with your calibration and profiling.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:38 PM
tsilva
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · A question about color correction


http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?ID=1257


Nov 15, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Lisa_Holloway
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · A question about color correction


The SOOC shot looks VERY close as far as color is concerned. The edit is way too cool. I've tried many different methods of getting color/WB correct, and what eventually has worked for me is to just train my eye to 'see' what looks right...I adjust color temp and tint by eye now.


Nov 15, 2011 at 03:40 PM
m.shalaby
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · A question about color correction


Lisa_Holloway wrote:
The SOOC shot looks VERY close as far as color is concerned. The edit is way too cool. I've tried many different methods of getting color/WB correct, and what eventually has worked for me is to just train my eye to 'see' what looks right...I adjust color temp and tint by eye now.


same here.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:45 PM
eSchwab
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · A question about color correction


The first one looks 10x better. If you're unable to do it manually why don't you click the background and see if that gets you close. Otherwise you need to learn how to do it manually. If you're using lightroom it's easy. I'm not sure how the color controls for Raw are in bridge, but pick a preset WB that gets close and then you need to look at the image and see what needs changing. This is usually the easiest when you have another image that has skin tones you like, that way you can compare it. Often times the Green/Magenta slider does more to fix skin than the blue/yellow slider. Make sure your monitor is calibrated or it's all just a waste of time. I like my images warm, and I think the first is only very slightly yellow.


Nov 15, 2011 at 03:46 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · A question about color correction


I always make sure I have a correct exposure then do a Custom WB. This at least gives me a starting point that should be very close. I seldom need to change it in post. The Auto WB gives very different results most of the time. If you use the same light for most shoots then you can find a color temp and use that to get the same results. I vary my shoots using a mix of natural light and strobe so I get better results using custom WB. You also need to know that your monitor is correct. I agree wth eyeball that the first imagee does not look yellow. The white shitrs appear white. The second looks very blue and the white has a blue hue except for the fathers collar which looks a bit bright to start anyway.


Nov 15, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Pfiltz
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · A question about color correction


I use a X-rite Passport

nuff said.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:50 PM
dwa652
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · A question about color correction


Lisa_Holloway wrote:
The SOOC shot looks VERY close as far as color is concerned. The edit is way too cool. I've tried many different methods of getting color/WB correct, and what eventually has worked for me is to just train my eye to 'see' what looks right...I adjust color temp and tint by eye now.


+1 to what Lisa says, using a calibrated monitor of course.



Nov 15, 2011 at 03:53 PM
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