Color Correction in Lightroom
Illustration by Richard Downs

Color Correction in Lightroom

with Taz Tally

Video: Working with near neutrals and images with no neutrals

In this project we want to work with an image that has a little bit
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  1. 2m 20s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 7m 18s
    1. Overview of color correction tools in Lightroom
      4m 17s
    2. Using virtual copies for color-adjustment variations
      3m 1s
  3. 10m 40s
    1. Setting up the interface for color adjustments
      4m 33s
    2. Setting up the color tools
      1m 45s
    3. Using Lightroom's soft proofing
      4m 22s
  4. 29m 9s
    1. Understanding how the histogram displays tone
      7m 51s
    2. Understanding how the histogram displays color
      4m 35s
    3. Identifying color casts with histograms and the Info tool
      6m 54s
    4. Measuring skin tones
      5m 50s
    5. Using target-based measurements
      3m 59s
  5. 51m 54s
    1. Understanding the interaction of Lightroom's histogram and tone panels
      8m 27s
    2. Adjusting color balance with the Temperature and Tint tools
      5m 51s
    3. Avoiding highlight and shadow clipping
      6m 58s
    4. Adjusting color balance using the Info tool and the Tone panel
      8m 19s
    5. Using Lightroom's automated adjustment tools
      5m 42s
    6. Adjusting overall brightness and contrast
      6m 21s
    7. Using targets for color correction
      4m 0s
    8. Challenge: Evaluating and correcting color
      1m 2s
    9. Solution: Evaluating and correcting color
      5m 14s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Evaluating and correcting critical highlights, shadows, and contrast areas in landscapes
      7m 28s
    2. Working with near neutrals and images with no neutrals
      6m 42s
    3. Correcting skin tones in a portrait
      5m 37s
    4. Correcting a faded image
      7m 54s
    5. Adding pop to product images
      7m 58s
    6. Making curve-based color correction adjustments
      7m 40s
    7. Color correcting product shots
      7m 12s
    8. Making creative adjustments
      5m 45s
    9. Automating adjustments
      4m 34s
    10. Challenge: Identifying and correcting a color cast
      1m 2s
    11. Solution: Identifying and correcting a color cast
      6m 54s
  7. 1m 26s
    1. Next steps
      1m 26s

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Watch the Online Video Course Color Correction in Lightroom
2h 55m Advanced May 30, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Lightroom is a great choice for color correction. In this course, photographer and educator Taz Tally details the concepts, tools, and techniques behind correcting and enhancing color in Lightroom. Learn to evaluate the color in an image with the Develop module tools, Lightroom's histograms, and (crucially) your own eyes. Then discover how to use the color correction tools to balance and tone adjust an image, using tried and true techniques like neutralization and color ratios. Taz then takes you through a variety of color correction scenarios, from improving landscapes, fixing skin tones, and recovering faded images to making product shots pop, removing color casts, and making creative color adjustments.

Topics include:
  • Setting up Lightroom for color correction
  • Identifying color cast
  • Measuring skin tones
  • Adjusting color balance
  • Adjusting overall brightness and contrast
  • Using targets for color correction
  • Using histograms, the Info panel, and Curves
  • Making creative adjustments
  • Automating color correction
Taz Tally

Working with near neutrals and images with no neutrals

In this project we want to work with an image that has a little bit different color cast challenge than we worked with in the first project. We're going to work on an image that has maybe no particular neutral, maybe nothing that grabs as sure neutral and near neutral, and a little bit more of a challenging color cast. We're going to work in this whale tail image. Let's go ahead and make our virtual copy by going Cmd or Ctrl, an apostrophe, and we've got two stars assigned to these. So we can click on Attributes, and we'll just work and view on the images that we'd see on screen just to keep things simple.

And then we'll go to the Develop module and well, let's do a visual evaluation first of the image. We see a beautiful tail of a humpback whale shot in lower Kachemak Bay in Alaska. And when you look at the image, you suspect that there's well, a blue or blue-green color cast on this. And then we look over here on the histogram, we see a couple of obvious things. First is, we can just immediately see that there's a color cast here. You know the blue is offset to the right. But notice the aqua, which is right behind it, which indicates that we'll probably have a blue-green cast, not just a straight blue cast, so a little bit more complicated.

We also see that there's not much detail here, or any data in the highlight area of the image, which is why the image, it doesn't look bad, but contrast is a little low. And we may have a little bit of room on the shadow end where we can darken things up just a little bit as well. So, let's look here and see if there's any portion of this image that we can identify, that we could maybe make neutral or that we know the color value should be. You know there are some clouds back here but you know, that's about 70 miles away. And what's the key portion of this image? Well, it's the tail, isn't it? And we'd love to make the tail pop out of this image a little bit.

So, when we look at this tail, we can see that there's dark areas and light areas. We're not exactly sure if this is 100% neutral. But it's what I call a near neutral, so it's going to be pretty close. Let's go ahead and get our eyedropper, because I love using that so I can see things a little bit easier. Nice large numbers right over the image, 29.6, 32, and 33. As we move around to various areas here, 29, 31, 32. And I'm going to avoid areas like this where there seems to be a little bit of staining. I want to try to find areas that are as clean as possible.

27, 30, 30. 24, 29, 30. So there's a bit of a blue cast that we can see here. 31, 34, 35. But notice none of the numbers are particularly equal in any given place. Now we can move back here to the sky and see well, you know we'll get the same thing back here. 70, 74, 76, where the blue is higher than the green which is higher than the red. So overall, we can see that we have that kind of consistency across the image, but 28, 30, 32. All right.

So we know we're going to be adjusting the blue and the green relationship to the red. So, let's start by coming down here, just clicking on our temperature. And since we know we want to lower the blue, let's go ahead and do that. We'll just hit our up arrow to lower that blue. And what that really does, since it moves it toward the yellow, it's raising the red and green. And I'm watching, in particular, the red here. I'm going to take the red up to about 34, so it's real close to what the blue is. And notice that the green goes a little bit higher.

The reason I'm doing that is this is a warm cool slider, with blue on one side and red yellow on the other. And then I note that the tint, I can adjust the green in relationship to what these colors are. So we get the red and blue pretty close to each other. Then I'm going to hit the Tab key, and then I'm going to lower the green to about 34. Get it in the range of 34. And notice when I do that, do you see how the red responds a little bit as well? I can Shift-Tab, go back up there, and I'm just going to move this a little bit closer to the red.

So now we've got 34, 34, 34, we're pretty darn close, aren't we? And we've neutralized this image nicely. And if we want to include the clouds in this evaluation and adjustment, we can sure do that. But I'm really going to be focusing on the foreground here and kind of let the background go. Notice how we've been able to nicely neutralize this. Take out a lot of that blue-green color cast by using both of these sliders starting with the blue, and then working the tint, and just going back and forth a little bit, until we get all those numbers equal. Notice how much brighter the water is.

Now we get this beautiful sheen now that we've taken away that really strong blue-green color cast. Good. So now we'll come down here and we're going to work on the whites. And I'll click here and go Option or Alt, and then drag this and see where the lightest portions of this image are. And it seems to be coming up, there's some reflections off the water, those are going to be kind of tough. Let's go to the sky back there and take a look at that sky. All right, and I'm going to select my whites here and I'm going to move this in here, see, it's really nice.

You don't have to zoom in to see right where the pixels are that you're adjusting, which is great. And then we're just going to back this off until we get down to about the 95%. There we go. And so now we know that we're not going to get any areas that are going to blow out in this image. And we're going to do the same thing in the blacks. Let's come down here, hit the Enter key to apply that, come to Vex, hold down the Option, the Alt key and okay, we've got the dark areas right here in the tail. So I'm going to leave it over here to identify where those dark areas are.

There we go, I'm going to just put this over here, and of course, select the blacks. And then we're going to back off the blacks by going the Up arrow, and here we go, another judgement call again, how light do we want this. Is there much detail here to be seen? All right, there's a little bit of detail as we move this around, so we might want to raise this until we get up to about 5% to make sure that any detail there that we're going to be able to see and it's going to be able to print. And notice as we move it up to about 5%, notice that some of that detail does indeed start to come out visually in the image.

And I'm putting at five which is a 95% black, we know that when we send this to print, if we do, then that will be maintained. It won't fill in and get too dark. All right. So very nice. And then we can finally come up here and we can adjust overall contrast. If we wanted to increase or decrease contrast, it knows when we pull the contrast over. It separates the data peaks in the image and that's up to you. It's certainly going to be a judgement call as to how you go. So there we go. An image with a near neutral and something we're not quite sure but we want to give it some nice punch. We wanted to take out that aqua color cast, it was a little more complicated.

So we had to go to the temperature and the tint and go back and forth a little bit to neutralize that. And we end up with a nice image. Let's go ahead and hit that Y key to look at the before and after. And if you like some of the blue or some of the aqua you don't have to take it all out. Again, you can make multiple virtual copies and do iterations of this, however many time you like.

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