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White Balance, Color Correction, Color Casts, OH MY!


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I just got this question from a reader:

“What is the best way to address color issues?  I love the photos I take but the color is always off.”

The short answer….

in camera – the single best way to address color is to do a custom white balance using a white balance card, gray card, or any number of tools on the market (expo disc, white balance lens cap, whi-bal, etc)

  • You can take a shot of the card/disc, etc and follow your camera manual’s instructions for setting the CWB.  With a gray card, white card or whi-bal you can also take a shot of it and then edit layer using that photo in camera raw

in a RAW editor (like Lightroom or ACR) – this is the second best way to work on overall color (not isolated color casts though)

  • You can use a target card (explained above) and use the dropper and click on it.  And it will correct color temperature for you.
  • If you did not shoot a card, then you can see if you can find a neutral white or gray and click on that as a starting point
  • Then you can play with the tint and the temperature sliders
  • Another option is to change the setting in the drop down – from AWB or whatever you have set – to what the conditions were (sunny, cloudy, etc.)

in Photohop – this can be an effective way to master color and fine tune what you did in camera and in RAW

  • Using Photoshop is more complex but it is the best way to fine tune your color using RGB and CMYK numbers to guide you (I cover this extensively in my “Color Fixing Online Group Workshops.”
  • You can target overall color, skin tone, white areas with color cast, and color spills in isolated areas using Photoshop

Are you laughing at me for saying this was short?

Well tomorrow I will show you a new product I tried out and how it did with CWB.  I will also show you photos of the same object and at the same camera settings (with only the White Balance changed) so you can start to see the subtle differences.

See you then…


No Comments

  1. Beth B on January 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Jodi-Can’t wait to see what product you use! I just ordered a basic Delta gray card but I am always open to other suggestions as well.

  2. Brendan on January 26, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I have an 18% gray card that I use from time to time. It works very well when I use CWB. I have also read that the gray card works better than using a white card.

  3. Guera on January 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing your new product, and to the Colour Fixing Class, particularly for removing isolated colours. I haven’t tried a white/gray card yet as I’m usually taking spur of the moment photos of my kids, but I adjust white balance all the time in RAW which is really easy.

  4. Barb on January 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I can’t wait to see what the new product is! I just got a Robin Myers digital grey card and am learning CWB with it. So far I am loving the results; just need to get quicker with the buttons!

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