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Archive 2004 · A nice way to warm your photos
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · A nice way to warm your photos

I've sorta "stumbled upon" a technique that seems to give pleasing results for quite a few shots (not all, though).

First, convert your image (if it was shot in RAW) using the best white-balance you can find.

Then, use the Levels command in Photoshop, and set your "Options" tab to:

Algorithm: Find light and dark colors
Snap Neutral Midtones: checked yes
Shadows and Highlights: clipped to 0.03%

If you want to save these as the defaults for Auto-Levels, be sure to check the box at the bottom (Save As Defaults).

This step may require some changes to these parameters, to suit your taste.

What I typically end up with is a shot that's very neutral, lacking any real warmth. Some might even say they're a bit cold (but I think it's really a very neutral look).

Then (this reqiures PS CS), go to Image . . Adjustments . . Photo Filter . . . and select one of the two warming filters (I prefer #85 most of the time), and then adjust the density to suit your tastes. I almost always end up closer to 50% than 25%. I also always check the Preserve Luminosity box.

Try it, you might like it!

Oct 03, 2004 at 06:00 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · A nice way to warm your photos

would it be possible to see a before & after for us to compare?


Oct 03, 2004 at 06:08 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · A nice way to warm your photos

Hmm... this would depend highly on your original WB to begin with. If you're converting from RAW, why not just set a warmer temperature/tint in the converter proram then?

I've tried it out on my D30 (JPEGs), and they were much too much red/magenta to the pictures. Again, this is highly dependent on your original WB, your camera model and your RAW converter.

Oct 03, 2004 at 07:33 PM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · A nice way to warm your photos

I don't have any before/after comparisons handy at the moment.

As far as dependency on the original camera and WB, I agree and yet disagree.

The whole point of the Auto-Levels (by setting the Options up the way I described) was to get the picture back to a very neutral (most would say cold) state before warming it up.

With my 1D, the images often came out very neutral to start with. The 1D-II seems to be a bit warmer for most shots.

I haven't gone back and tried this with any of my D30 images, though.

Another thing that can be done after warming things up a bit (or maybe too much) is to adjust the final saturation slider up about 10%, but then decrease the red saturation slider (in the same step) by about 10%, as well.

This is all highly subjective, BTW. It's not the same thing as getting things to look neutral, which can (sorta) be debated about which version is more neutral.

Further note that (IMO), neutral is NOT what the eye sees, and may not reflect reality. We like to say that the human eye corrects for WB. I think it does PARTIALLY, but not fully. Otherwise, sunsets wouldn't look all that great to us, IMO.

The 1D's excellent AWB would usually turn a nice warm sunset into a cold sterile version. Reflecting what a "perfect human eye" might see. Fortunately, we don't have those perfect eyes.

Oct 03, 2004 at 09:05 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · A nice way to warm your photos

no prob David.......this is something i'm going to give a try anyways.......thx for posting this...........always looking for ideas to create a new action

Oct 03, 2004 at 10:12 PM
Jay Maples
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · A nice way to warm your photos


I do roughly the same thing, except that I apply a curve which I downloaded from the internet. You can find the package of curves here. There are lots included, but the one I really like is "brilliant warmth". After applying, I usually find that 70%-80% opacity gives the best result.

For the life of me, I cannot remember which website I found these on, but they were free, I take no credit for them, and I post them here for everyone's enjoyment. Hopefully, I have not violated someone's copyright!

Oct 03, 2004 at 11:24 PM

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