DPP: Part 3 ? Processing the Image: Exercise 13 ? Managing Colour

This exercise is about correcting the colour in images.  I’ve selected two images with a significant colour cast.  The aim is to achieve a look to the colours which look “reasonable and expected”.  The exercise states that at least one image contains a surface that is “known”/expected to be grey; as it is – both images include grey surfaces.


It’s been a while since I took this image and can’t recall what the white balance was set to on my camera.  Experimenting puts it somewhere near to tungsten settings in Lightroom.  This is the image with the white-balance set to “as shot”:

Spices - "As Shot"

Spices – “As Shot”

I applied Lightroom’s tungsten setting which made for a “cooler” image than the “as shot” image.  It’s a much better look – with the orange tinge almost (but not completely) eliminated:

Spices - "Tungsten"

Spices – “Tungsten”

For the next image I used the white-balance tool, selecting a neutral area of the image as below:

White-balance picker...

White-balance picker…

The orange tint has been eliminated.  The neutral grey area looks how I would expect it to, though from a subjective point-of-view I think the image isn’t as interesting when neutral:

Spices - "Neutral"

Spices – “Neutral”

I adjusted the colour temperature very slightly to make the image slightly warmer – somewhere between the gunsten and grey-neutral image, which I much prefer:

Spices - "Neutral Adjustment"

Spices – “Neutral Adjustment”

By a Fire

This image was taken beside a campfire, with the fire being the only light source, so it has a very orange/red colour-cast.

By the Fire - "As Shot"

By the Fire – “As Shot”

None of the pre-set white-balance options could get close to a neutral grey on the hoody.  Tungsten, which I’d expect to be the most likely to, got nowhere near – as shown below:

By the Fire - "Tungsten"

By the Fire – “Tungsten”

Using the white balance selector has gotten much closer to a neutral colour cast on the image, though there is still a hint of the red on the face and hands which I think works to still reflect the quality of the light from the fire:

By the Fire - "Neutral"

By the Fire – “Neutral”

Additional thoughts…

In both these cases what’s technically “correct” in terms of colour hasn’t necessarily been the version I’m happiest with.  That, I think , leads nicely in to the next project on “creative interpretation” which looks at the adjustments made when personal taste takes over – as “correct” is not a compulsory rule.

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