Colour Correction Could Add That Extra Punch to Your Digital Images!
Colour correction using Photoshop. This is one thing I have noticed as I talk to people, look at photos and visit forums…all the bells and whistles that modern editing programs have, a major point being overlooked at the editing stage is correcting any unwanted colour casts in digital images.
With the new digital age well and truly upon us, it is more often than not, down to us to “develop” our images every step of the way. Your negatives from film photography (if you ever ventured that way) would have been entirely processed at professional labs who would have corrected the colour, among other things, for you.
It is therefore more noticeable when an image has a colour cast to it, normally red or yellow, and can make people think there is a problem with their camera. This colour cast is quite normal, and usually appears when you have been shooting in low light, perhaps indoors, with no flash or studio lights, or maybe you or the camera had set the incorrect white balance.
Many couples don’t like flash being used at their wedding, so it is inevitable that you will end up with some colour casting. There is a fairly simple way around this which I will cover and I can imagine that once you grasp it, you will want to go through many of your images to try this out. It really can make quite an impact to your images.
Colour Correction with Photoshop 7, CS or CS 2
Ok, open the image that you want to adjust, go to
Image – Adjustments – Colour Balance
And a box should appear as in Fig. 1
Colour Correction Using Photoshop – Fig.1
Now, as this image has a fairly large amount of red and yellow cast to it, we need to make adjustment to those colours. So with the “Midtones” box ticked in the tone balance area of the box, slide the Cyan – Red slider to the left to decrease the red hue, but not too much, and then slide the Yellow – Blue slider to the right to decrease the yellow hue, again not too much.
If you have the preview box ticked, you will see the adjustments happen as you make them. Obviously each image is different and will need varying amounts of adjustment. For my image, in the midtones section, I reduced the Cyan – Redslider to -40 and increased the Yellow – Blue to +40.
If you don’t see a huge difference, don’t worry, there is more. Now, tick the Highlights box in the Tone Balance area, make similar adjustments, i.e., decrease the red and yellow hues. For my image I decreased the red to -30 and the yellow to +70, and the result is this;
Colour Correction Using Photoshop – Fig.2
Lastly, you can also try ticking the shadows box and making very minor adjustments there too. Too much and your contrast will suffer so make gradual alterations and see what happens.
The difference in quite noticeable as you can clearly see above. The skin tones are correctly balanced, the clothes have their “just washed” brightness back in them, but the yellow glow of the lights and reflection on the grooms back are still effectively there.
With modern Digital SLR’s like the Canon EOS 5D you can get away with high ISO (1600 or 3200) indoor shooting eliminating the need for flash, if you just use this technique and the help of noise reduction software such as Neat Image.
Colour Correction Using Photoshop
Of course, colour correction using Photoshop is useful in many other aspects other than wedding photography. I do a lot of interior work and sometimes it is not practical or necessary to set up the studio lights for images such as a quick kitchen shot. A tripod set up using natural light will do, knowing I can correct the colour balance later on.