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White Balance and Right Balance

Chris_L 9 5.5k United Kingdom
29 Jan 2020 12:06AM
My blindspot is white balance. I am constantly trying out new ways of getting consistent colour in an image, but in an artistic way, if you look at posts I made a couple of years ago on the subject - here for example you will know what I mean.

I am not talking about achieving an accurate look using a passport target, like these type of things, simple gray card or expensive sophisticated target you might utilise when doing product photography. I'm talking about the white balance sliders in Lr and Ps.

I struggle with skin tones in people shots. I just work til I get something that please my eye, yet I seem to go towards the blues more. How much of it is objective and how much is subjective?

I notice that a lot of photographs seem to have a yellowish skin tone. Maybe it's me being a bit colourblind? Or is it that the photographers are shooting in AdobeRGB and not tagging the images with that colourspace info, not converting to the more websafe sRGB? I will find some examples.
Carabosse Plus
20 43.7k 270 England
29 Jan 2020 2:10AM
I just use the dropper tool for WB. Sometimes you have to try more than one part of the photo to get a result which looks right. White, grey and even black can work as targets for the dropper. Tweak in PS using red and yellow hue sliders if absolutely necessary but I avoid it if I can because it can have unintended consequences!

I shoot in RAW and Adobe RGB. Process as 16-bit Adobe RGB. Then finally convert to sRGB for upload to the web, email, social media etc.

End result is often down to personal preference though. I don't like unnatural warmth in an image so I lean towards a neutral or even slightly cool output.
JJGEE 18 8.1k 18 England
29 Jan 2020 8:21AM
AlexOnRaw has some tips in this blog posting.

I believe Photoshop has L*a*b feature ?

Not for portraits but I use this feature in Capture One for almost all my shots
Chris_L 9 5.5k United Kingdom
29 Jan 2020 10:59AM
That is going to be super useful, I had a quick read through his article, and yes PS does do LAB. Thank you.

CB I find sometimes even when picking a gray target or other neutral that the skin tone looks wrong.

I found some examples to illustrate the 'yellow' thing. This is just a search, using Google images, for Taylor Swift.

To my eye, top centre is accurate but pleasing skintone whilst bottom left is verging on yellow. What do you think?


In these others, there are some which I think are too 'yellow'.

In particular the one middle right, something about cats, from

is it just me being oversensitive?


Dave_Canon 16 2.2k United Kingdom
29 Jan 2020 1:41PM
I am not going to claim my portraits are always spot on but my system is calibrated end to end so raw files are rendered with my bespoke profile which seems much better that the other profiles available. If the shot is critical I will have also taken a shot of my colour checker passport under the lighting used. Using this with the eye dropper should ensure an accurate WB. The above combination works very well. For much of my photography colour precision is not critical (i.e. a competition judge will not know the exact original colour anyway). For most of my photography, I make little adjustment to colour and only adjust where I feel it will improve the image.

However, I do sometimes use Lab Colour in PS but this is for my colour Infrared images where you can create some dramatic effects.


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