Colour Casts – the digital age

After recently purchasing an old film camera I can seriously appreciate the ease of digital photography. Being able to ‘fix’ errors in photoshop later and adjust colours and exposure encourages a whole new approach to how you take photos. I have found over the years as my photoshop skills and exposure increases I will compose my photos and adjust settings with the photoshop actions in my mind – i.e. I will assess a scene and think “Yes, this isn’t going to look so great on the camera, but with some contrast and saturation and a couple of dodge/burn layers this could be great” and it’s this that I’m talking about.

The other great thing about photoshop is knowing that you can alter a picture so that it looked exactly as you saw it yourself with the naked eye. Photographs (in my mind) should be natural and a reminder of what you saw when you were in that spot – I don’t like over saturating and “creating” new skies and all of that just to make a pretty picture.

The below photos are shots taken at Trigg Beach in Perth and were taking using a Lee Big Stopper Filter to reduce the light and allow a soft water/cloud movement. The negative effect of this filter is that it adds a colour cast to the shot – you can see by comparing the photos that the overall effect is rather green, especially noticeable on the otherwise cream sand and limestone rocks. It detracts from the colour of the sky and is unnatural to what a human eye would have picked up at the scene.

Enter Photoshop.

I used Image>edit>match colour>neutralise mask to change the tones in this image (cs5) and then played with the exposures in certain sections of the rockwork and the sky. The second image shows more natural colour and is truer to how the ocean and sky looked that day.

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