Any tips on refining WB for skin when the BG is green/yellow?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by crimbfighter, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    So, for years now I have struggled in setting the WB to what looks correct for skin tones when the frame is dominated with greens and yellows, usually in the BG. During the late summer and fall this is more of an issue and when there is little or no direct light (which I'm sure effects how the cameras color meter reads ambient light). When using natural light, the camera's auto WB tends to set the WB to a pretty cool skin tone when there are greens and yellows in the BG. Then, when I try to manually adjust it in post, I just really seem to struggle finding a good balance. Warming the WB tends to make the entire image feel too yellow. Auto WB in Lightroom never seems to get it right. Using the dropper on the whites of the eye almost always makes the image way too warm or green. I'm kind of at a loss, and editing this last session which was outdoors, in the woods, with tons of yellows has put me over the edge! :BangHead:

    So, has anyone found a good technique for adjusting the WB in post with this type of situation? Also, setting a custom WB in the field usually isn't practical due to constantly changing locations with varying light and BG's...


     
  2. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Set your wb before you shoot with a custom wb set off a grey card, its quick and easy and accurate
     
  3. Scatterbrained

    Scatterbrained Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A couple of thoughts: If you can't get find something in the frame that is a neutral white or grey, then try selecting a WB preset that most closely matches the situation, then tune to taste. Bear in mind that if you're using Adobe Lr/ACR it's possible that the Adobe Standard Camera Profile is mucking up your pictures. I find that in scenes with a ton of foliage the only way to get my colors right from the off is to switch to the Camera Neutral Profile. If you feel like you're getting close, but not quite there, they take the image into Ps and adjust the skin specifically: http://help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/93363
     
  4. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Shoot a WB target, auto WB doesn't work and LR is not very helpful when it comes to sampling colors for info (you only get RGB values).

    Joe
     
  5. JustJazzie

    JustJazzie Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not sure if this will help you, but besides the above tips at the suggestion of @Vtec44 I recently started using a shot where I know the skin tones are what I want to match then I zoom in so all I can see is skin tones and adjust accordingly. The shots aren't from the same session but I have been using the same shot as my "baseline" for skin tones.
     
  6. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That Vtec44 guy knows what he's doing. :D
     
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  7. JustJazzie

    JustJazzie Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    He's not just a pretty face you know! ;-)
     
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  8. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    This is kind of what I was hoping to avoid... I tend to shoot a lot of candid stuff, or taking one or two photos and moving to a new location. Often even changing the direction the camera is pointed by 90 degrees will completely alter the WB needed. For me, and my style of shooting, I think it's just too cumbersome to keep resetting a custom WB. Thank you for the suggestion, though, I appreciate the feedback.

    I hadn't thought about the color profiles effecting anything. Perhaps I'll look into that more. Thanks! I have at times adjusted skin tone using a layer if PS, it's just so time consuming when I have 200+ photos to get through...

    I may in fact start using reference photos with a color check card.. It seems like that may be the most accurate solution.

    That's not a bad idea, thanks for the suggestion. I could pretty easily create a bank of reference photos. You mention zooming in to set skin tones, and one thing I find is that if I do that, there is often still an overall balance issue with the rest of the frame. If it's dominated by greens and yellows, and I adjust the WB to target just skin, then the rest of the frame is overpowering with very warm yellows..

    Ain't that the truth!
     
  9. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I shoot a lot in the forest and it can be a pain correcting skin tone. Auto WB will be overwhelmed by the reflected light and even a color card doesn't really give you an accurate reading to the skin tone that you want (closer but still way off IMHO). You still need to fine tune it since skin tone varies due to the photographer's personal preference. I do all of my skin tone correction in Lightroom with a combination of in camera custom WB, manual Kelvin per scene, and past reference of my own "perfected" samples. WB will change the color of the entire scene but LR also allows you to adjust each individual color within the scene, then add tint to the highlights. The skin is typically the brighter part of a scene, so adjusting highlights can affect the tone. The color orange is typically the main color for skin tone adjustment. Also, assuming that you're doing all this on a calibrated monitor. There is no easy way, no presets that will automatically fix it for you. It can be a tedious and time consuming process, depending on your work flow.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
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  10. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    If there is enough resolution, you can use the whites of the eye (the sclera) as a reference.
    In infants the sclera are a milky white and that color changes gradually over a person's lifetime with age and health.
    Sclera may have the very slightest bluish tinge, almost inperceptable, in normal healthy infants and children.
    IMO, in pictures taken outside, you can often seen children with a distinct bluish cast while the skin is vaguely OK.
    When that bluish tint is used a marker to use for a global adjustment of color, the skin will take on a much healthy hue.
     
  11. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A reference card (spectrally neutral) always gives you an accurate reading of the light color at the location of the card.

    Joe

     
  12. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ....and the light color at the location of the card is not always pleasant for the skin tone. That's the issue. LOL
     

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