Color Correction in Seconds Using Photoshop Actions
The best way to get accurate color is definitely shooting Raw and doing a custom white balance. But just because you know you should shoot this way, does not mean you will. In a recent Private Photoshop Training Class with Harmony Kellis, we worked on an image of her family, taken by her friend who is a hobbyist photographer. The photo was a little under exposed and the white balance was way off. Since the photographer did not shoot in Raw, we had to work with the JPG image.
To go from before to after, in the Blueprint below, here were my steps:
- To bright the photo, I used the Magic Midtone Lifter action from the Bag of Tricks Photoshop action set – at 55% opacity.
- Ran the Crackle Photoshop action to add midtone contrast – from the Quickie Collection at 22% opacity.
- Then I worked on the color. I used Magic See-Saw from the Bag of Tricks. I left the folder at the default opacity, and adjust the opacity of two layers: I went to 91% for red up/cyan down. It might seem counter-intuitive to add red since their skin looked red, but that is how you can get rid of cyan. Then I added yellow, by adjusting the yellow up/blue down layer to 55%. I used the numbers for skin tone that I teach in my Color Fixing Group class.
- I masked the color off the background using a 30% opacity brush so the background would not get too warm.
- Lastly I ran the free Photoshop action Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness – I used a 30% opacity brush and burned the edges, denim and background with the darkness layer and used the light layer on their skin and faces.
- Cropped with an 8×10 ratio.
That was in – a few minutes of editing – and now Harmony can print this! I should mention, the image we edited in the training was low res, so that is why it is not super sharp in the before or after below.