The ability to provide impeccable color reproduction is one of the factors that distinguishes beginners from professionals and divides the latter into several categories. Generally speaking, the distinction of true color correction begins to emerge on a commercial and subtle artistic level. In this article, you will find useful color correction tips that will be useful for any genre of photography, including just selfies. By the way, if you don’t know how to take the perfect selfie, read the articles on the Skylum developer’s blog.
Calibrate your monitor
Often there are several options available to set the calibration to a particular standard, whether it’s a printer model, corporate requirements, or any other realistic color setting-it all depends on the calibration device. This means that the images you process will appear as close to how you want others to see them as possible. Now we’ll explain why this is very important:
- For example, you do a lot of photo shoots with your friends as models.
- Then you process the pictures and they look cool.
- But when you see the photos on your phone and another computer, your skin tone turns golden! And it’s not just a faint glow, but a full-blown golden hue.
- The background, which should have looked white or gray, also took on a yellow hue.
Calibrating your monitor will avoid this failure. In addition to the above, if you work on different devices, calibrating them is vital, because you need to see the same color everywhere. Otherwise, you’ll make a photo look good on one screen, open it on another computer two days later, and realize that everything has turned purple. Sometimes you can try flipping the photo between multiple computers or phones to visually determine how the photo looks on different devices.
Do color correction in the morning
Our eyes are most active and best at distinguishing differences in color in the morning. I do my best color correction when you are fresh and getting ready to start a new day. Late at night, your eyelids get heavy, and your eyes lose focus or start to clump due to violent attempts to keep them open; night is not the best time for artwork in this regard.
Print your work
This has become something of a mantra lately, and it’s especially true for color correction. The best way to make sure your photos are displayed the right way in terms of color is to print them out and look at them in natural light. That said, to save time and money, you can print test strips: small pieces of a photo that cover the contrast range (try to pay more attention to pure black and white) and can be used to visually examine color, brightness, contrast and other visible variables that are causing you doubt.
Printing takes time. Especially if you use large-format printers. There are plenty of small copy centers and sole proprietors who will take over the printing process. By resorting to such solutions, you will save time and in some cases, you can even get help with color correction. However, be careful when asking someone to color-correct your photos, as their vision of the final result may not be the same as yours.
Two pairs of eyes are better than one
Making friends with other photographers is very good practice, especially for those whose interests differ from yours. They will be able to offer a share of constructive criticism and offer advice that you would not have come to on your own. Among other things, it also provides an extra pair of eyes to help spot processing errors.
After looking at a photograph for too long, sometimes even all day long, the eye gets used to it, and instead of the real picture, you start to see what should be there. One of the best ways to get out of this state and blur your gaze is to take a short break, and in the meantime ask someone to look at the result and share their opinion.
Treat specific areas
Light behaves completely crazy. To deal with problem areas, use curves! Perhaps one of the best (and fastest) ways is the Levels adjustment layer. It allows you to control the color, but all changes are made non-destructively. In addition to being non-destructive, adjustment layers boast masks that allow you to apply them locally.
So if reflected light or an unwanted light source gives a small area a tint, you can fix it with curves and then mask the adjustment layer so it doesn’t affect the whole photo. For advanced color correction, you can use the advanced photo editor Luminar Neo. Its interface is much easier to understand than Photoshop.
Work in a dimly lit room
This tip is most effective if you have calibrated your monitor. Usually, you want to turn up the brightness when you’re processing. You want to see everything you’re working on. However, we are working with light, and when you change the light (brightness) of a photo, even if it is just a representation on the screen, the interpretation of specific shades changes.
Some professional photographers even buy special visors for the monitor. They keep ambient light from hitting the screen and affecting the perception of the photo – it’s like turning off the light fixture on the ceiling and working in a dimly lit room.
In some situations, color accuracy is a completely subjective concept. Don’t reject subjectivity in your art and don’t be afraid to break the rules or not meet expectations. However, knowing how to handle color corrections correctly regardless of the situation will have a positive impact on your understanding of light when shooting and creatively processing. Knowing such rules will teach you how to break them better.
The most important thing is to have fun. To practice, color-correct all of your photos, including selfies. By the way, to find out how to take the perfect selfie and improve your skills, be sure to visit Skylum’s blog.