Get the Red Out

Baldy posted a while back about Wedding Dress Blues… well today’s subject is again color and exposure correction in a situation that is very difficult for many photographers: Wedding Formals.

One of our pros wrote in asking for help with a particular image. His first couple of emails included edited versions of the shot — finally I got ahold of the original, and guess what — it wasn’t that bad!

OK the trained eye will easily see that there’s a magenta color cast to the dress, and the groom’s jacket. Fixing it was recently this discussion of a thread over on Digital Grin. I know reading is hard, so I’m going to give you the condensed version right here: Don’t overthink! This is an image that’s dead-simple to fix with one click Auto, via Photoshop Auto Levels, or via SmugMug’s Color Effects Tool. What’s that you say??? Auto?? I’m a professional, I don’t use auto-anything! Well, the smart pro knows when to let the software do the work.

OK — you’re too cool for auto. Fine. Then use Photoshop’s Curves tool, and select the whitepoint and, DONE!

How about one final improvement? With Photoshop CS2, you can use the Shadow/Highlight Tool to recover shadow detail and highlight detail. With a tiny bit of practice, these corrections can take all of 45 seconds on an image such as this one.

My main message: Do SOMETHING with images such as these — even if you are a photoshop beginner, you can try the auto functions — nothing to lose — but keep in mind that auto won’t always work this well! Next step is to learn some basics of Curves adjustments, which are simple enough to learn, and very very powerful. Don’t get hung up on complicated selections and masks and all that — yet — not until you’ve Got The Red Out, and have chased away the Wedding Dress Blues! Once you have, maybe it’s time to pickup a good book and don’t forget to hang out at Photoshop Shenanigans.

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