06.20.2011

Color balance, first step before editing: Hudson Valley Photography

When I first started taking photography seriously one of the things I struggled with was getting a correct color balance in the editing process when I either set my White Balance in camera wrong or my image needed a slight adjustment out of camera. My eyes tended to favor the yellow/orange tones so my earlier pictures looked very ‘warm’ as compared to later when I trained my eyes to see a balance in color.

One of the most important pieces of advice anyone ever told me was to set up a visual balance board: What I did was have a nicely balanced image running side by side each of my images that I was about to edit and use it as a ‘guide’ to check each of my balances. Doing this helped me see the balance and now it is much easier for me to ‘visualize’ a balanced color first.

Actually, having a balanced image BEFORE running any kind of edit is THE most important component…you really don’t want to saturate your color, contrast or even run a vintage action on an unbalanced photo, it just ends up looking worse instead of enhancing your photo. Of course getting a correct balance (aka White balance) in camera first is truly the key but often times light changes quickly and gives you a vastly different color while you are shooting, if this happens you’ll need to balance it in a software program!

Changing the balance in color can be done easily with an eye dropper tool in LR, running the RAW edit program in PS programs and/or adjusting your photo filter in most editing programs. A simple guide and very elementary approach to follow is: Too much green- add red, too much red-add green, too much blue-add yellow, too much yellow-add blue…until it is a good balance!

Here is a little visual montage I put together for you so that you can start to see the color balance and end up with a better color balanced image. Hope this helps those who need it.

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