RAW Capture & Color Balance

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 11.19.59 AMSince RAW files allows you to change a photograph’s white balance using Adobe Camera RAW, you might be tempted to not worry about setting proper white balance when shooting in RAW. White balance choice is important because most RAW processing software opens the file using the captured image’s white balance setting but starting with as good image as possible means that only minor tweaks can make an already good image into a great one.

Try as you may sometimes it just seems as though you can’t get the color balance exactly right. And that includes me too as when I made a portrait of my former muse*, Tia Stoneman. That’s when I wait until I get into the digital darkroom and use correction tools such as PictoColor’s iCorrect Portrait.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 11.20.41 AMIt’s a Photoshop-compatible plug-in that uses skin tone technology that’s different from what’s used in the company’s iCorrect EditLab Pro and may just be the best skin tone algorithm available in plug-in form. iCorrect Portrait sets black and white points, lets you adjust brightness and contrast, and automatically corrects color balance and skin tones with a single mouse click! You can save corrections as Custom Settings and apply then to multiple image files. iCorrect Portrait is Action enabled and compatible with Mac OS and Windows.

tia.corset.whiteThis photograph of Tia was made using (mostly) window light with a Canon EOS 5DMark I set in AWB mode with my all-time favorite portrait lens, the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. Exposure was 1/160 sec at f/3.5 and ISO 400. An EX550 speedlite was used as fill. Tia is wearing a white corset and the window frame behind her is white as well. But color temperature varies not only by time of day but time of year and who know what colors were bouncing in from outdoors.

I opened the photograph is iCorrect Portrait and clicked on the window frame to produce the color balance than you see here. One click using the Neutral Balance “Memory Color” and the skin tone looked great. I could have followed up using the skin tone memory color and clicking on her cheek or use the Auto White Point of Auto Black Point and sometimes I do that as well depending on the image’s contrast. But here one click was all it took.

back.cover*If you know of any aspiring models or women who would like to become a muse, please have them Contact me. There will be a finder’s fee for successful referrals.

Tia is featured on the back cover of my book Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photography, which is available at your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.com.

Author: Joe Farace

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