Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This Is How It's Supposed To Look In Lightroom

OK, you gave it your best shot, you followed all the rules, you used all the best plug-ins out there, you referenced every book out there on color correction and your image still doesn't look right. It's just not how you remember it. It's just TOO neutral - so what do you do?

Boy, I just witnessed this first hand recently when we were recruiting and eventually hired a new digital tech in my studio. We interviewed 4 candidates, and then selected three for our "digital try-outs." Jen, my studio manager, selected about 20 images with colors all over the place - some in tungsten lighting, mixed lighting, daylight - a real challenge for our candidates.

We reviewed the images and what was apparent to me was the fact that most of the candidates were going for that perfectly neutral color without regard to the setting and feel of the image. I like my ceremony images to be slightly warm to reflect the surrounds of the church, for instance. The same is true if I drag the shutter in a church or a nice hotel where I pick up the ambient light too. The warm ambient needs to be reflected in the final image. That is to say - I don't want my result to be a perfectly neutral in color density images lacking the ambiance of the scene.

What I'm trying to say.... is that the final result is a subjective conclusion from the person doing the color correction. And that subjective solution must be based on the setting, the scene, and the subject matter. That all being said, check out the tutorial from George Jardine entitled, "Lightroom - Subjective Color Correction" - links below.

In this tutorial he outlines the basics of color correction, in a situation where the color and density of the photograph are wide open to interpretation.
This tutorial can be downloaded from George's iDisk right here. This podcast is labeled “20080224 Tutorial Podcast - Subjective Color Correction” in the Public directory. Or, you can find it on iTunes by searching under Podcasts for “Lightroom”. The RSS feed is right here.

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