Color casts can kill a photo. But luckily, there’s hope for removing color casts from photos. We are first going to look at how to use the adjustment brush in Lightroom, then finish off the color cast removal in Photoshop with two actions from the HeART & Soul and Creative HeART action collections and a little clone stamping. The photo will get an overall light, hazy and soft finishing edit. You could certainly take an image like this in a very rich direction, playing up the saturation of the clothing and balloons. However, with the sheepish look on her face, I really feel that the soft, hazy edit is a nice fit. With my photo editing blueprints, as with all things photography, it is subjective. You might prefer light, you might prefer rich…. I just try to show a variety of looks and possibilities and demonstrate how to get them.
I loved the silliness and the meekness of her expression. What I don’t love is how the pink balloons produced a horrible pink/orange cast on her shaded face.
Photo Editing Blueprint.
The first step to remove the color cast will be to use the adjustment brush in Lightroom. The adjustment brush allows you to paint in effects just where you want them, similarly to using layer masks in Photoshop. I’m using Lightroom 4, which has some really wonderful upgrades from version 3. You will notice in the adjustment brush menu, a Temp and Tint slider has been added. Yay! To counteract the magenta and orangish/yellowish tones, the temp and tint sliders play a big part. You can see in the screenshot below that the yellow was lowered, adding in more blue, and the magenta tint was lowered, adding in more green. Exposure was increased and the saturation was lowered just a little bit. Simply paint over the area of the image you wish to have these changes affect. I chose a rather hard brush (lowering the feather) so I could control exactly where the brushing was applied and to avoid overspray that would desaturate the balloons. The brush works just like the brush in Photoshop, with feather, flow and density (opacity) adjustments.
The adjustment brush did a great job removing a lot of the pink cast, but it’s not perfect. I will continue to remove the cast off her nose and the top of her forehead in Photoshop. But first, I wanted to check for any blown highlights before taking the photo into Photoshop. To do this, I clicked the white triangle in the histogram. This places a red mask over any areas in the photo where the highlights have been clipped. Similarly, you can check for clipped blacks by clicking the black triangle. The blacks that have been clipped and have lost all detail will be overlain with a blue color.
Another fantastic new feature of Lightroom 4 is the addition of whites slider in the Basic develop module. There is a difference between highlights and whites. This new slider helps to pick out and recover bright spots in a photo.
The above are all adjustments that I find easier to do in Lightroom on a RAW image. Color temperature and global adjustments like exposure and highlight & shadow recovery are super easy in Lightroom. I prefer to do the stylistic parts of photo editing in Photoshop with my HeARTy actions.
Here’s the final edit! …. or is it?
Creatively Cropping a Photo.
This image was shot very off the cuff, with no real time to think about the composition. I actually barely captured it. That left me with a photo that was centered and not a lot of room to do something special with the photo composition and crop. However, sometimes there’s a way around that. Here’s what I did.
First, in Photoshop, I selected the crop tool. I set my dimensions to 630 pixels by 420 pixels at 72 dpi (the size needed for the blog. I then drew the crop and turned the angle as seen below. The goal with composition was to put her face in the rule of thirds top intersection, as seen with the crosshairs. Plus, I wanted to angle it a bit for interest.