Guide to Fixing White Balance in LR and PS

In both Photoshop / Elements and Lightroom, it is very easy to fix your white balance in post processing - particularly when you have a neutral tone in your image. (If not, it can be a little harder as you need to set the correct white balance by eye)  Checking and fixing your white balance should be the first thing you do an image, so here's how to do it.

Please note that the screen shots are from Lightroom 4, but it is exactly the same as ACR - the free plug in for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements (If you don't yet have this plug-in for any reason, go get it now- makes life much easier) and very similar to earlier and later versions.

Below is an image that I took where I didn't set the correct white balance in camera, and I'll use this today to demonstrate a couple of different ways to set your white balance in processing. You can probably tell just by looking at it that it is too cool, so we need to check and change the white balance.


Project 52 Week 16

Our prompt for last week was to photograph bath time - and here is my submission for the week:

Thank you to everyone sharing their photographs online in the Flickr group- it's great to see everyone else's work too and I'm always happy to see that people have taken the time to share (I know I'm behind a bit just now so I know how much other things can get in the way!)

And now onto our prompt for this week:

"Let's photograph our child with their favourite toy.  It might be the one that have had for a long time, or their current obsession, or the one that they turn to when they need comforting.   Try to capture the emotion involved with that toy if you can - laughter if it is one that makes them giggle, or snuggling if it is the one that they like to have close by at night"

If you are new to the blog, you can find out more about the Project 52 here. You are more than welcome to join in at any time - it's a great way to grow your photography skills and hopefully capture a bit more of your family memories too. If you have any queries or comments, feel free to leave a comment below or on the Live Snap Love Facebook page.  Who knows, maybe we will see some new faces over the next few weeks!


Callum's New Chalkboard Wall

Callum's playroom is a bit on the small side for a true playroom (it's more like a toy storage room to be fair!) so I have wanted to give it a bit of facelift, and try to come up with ways to move toys from the floor space and up onto the walls instead.  I have wanted to do a chalkboard wall for him for ages, and we finally got around to it last week!

The whole room was painted white, with just one wall painted with chalkboard paint.  He was dying to use it as soon as we first had it done, but as you need to "season" the chalk paint before you use it (you need to cover the whole wall with a side of chalk first, otherwise sometimes whatever you draw or write on there first can be seen permanently)  he needed to wait a couple of days, but I think he enjoyed it when I finally got around to doing it!


Some Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

I love Photoshop, and rarely does an image get by without me doing SOMETHING in there to make an image pop a little. However, I do appreciate speed, and there is a couple of keyboard shortcuts that I find myself using all the time to help speed up my workflow. Rather than share heaps of shortcuts which no-one will ever remember in one go, I thought I'd just share the main ones with you today, and when I would typically use them.

CTRL + / – (CMD on a mac) 

This one allows you to zoom in and out in your image - useful for when you are working on small areas (like portrait retouching) but need to keep zooming out to see how it looks overall, before zooming back in. 

Simply pressing the letter B brings up the brush tool. This is probably the most commonly used tool as it is used a lot to mask off areas or apply edits to certain areas.

X to Switch Between White and Black Foreground Colors 

When using masks, you need to use a brush with the opposite colour. Use X to switch between white and black.

{ and } to  Decrease and Increase Brush Size

When using your brush you are going to want to increase and decrease the brush size so you can more accurately mask on or off areas - use the above keys to make your brush smaller or larger as you are working.

CTRL + J (CMD on a Mac) 

This brings up a new duplicate layer. I don't use duplicate layers much (I try to work on a new layer instead if I can) but I nearly always have one for cloning or patching.

CTRL + Z (CMD on a Mac) 

Always need this one! If you have done something and need to go back, this takes you back one step. If you need to go back more than one step, use CTRL, ALT and Z to keep going back further steps.

Those 6 are the ones that I use all the time, and added up, they do save a bit of time when editing once you get to know them well.

Hope this helps you fellow Photoshop users out there!


Our LIfe Photo Project: Week 15 & March Round Up

Well, that's March gone and time for our monthly round up! So, before we move onto the prompt for this week, here's just some of the images that caught my eye for weeks nine to twelve. Click on the links beneath to see the pictures in full and uncropped on the Flickr page (I do my best to make them look good in a square format - but original is best!)

The prompt for next week is:

"This week, we are going to photograph bath time. Most kids love playing about in the bath so lets take the opportunity to get some shots in whilst they are reasonably contained! This can be a great time for several detail shots rather than the whole scene."
TIP: Bathrooms can be a great place to photograph depending on the amount of natural light available.  However, if like me, your bathroom doesn't get a lot of natural light (or bath time is at dusk) and tungsten lights are the only option, make sure to set your white balance manually as your camera's AWB will often get this wrong.  In addition, try to avoid overhead lights if you can (you can get unflattering shadowing) but again, if like me, overhead lights are the only option you have, try shooting from above so that they need to look up at you and therefore to the light source.


My Little Calibration Problem....

I was all set to show you some pictures today, when I realised I hadn't calibrated my monitor for several weeks. I normally do this every month, and although there is a change each time, it is usually relatively slight, so I thought I'd just give it a quick run through and then I'd be done.  This time though, there was a huge difference in brightness - even though it has been longer than a month since I calibrated I really did not expect such a big change!

Of course I tried it again.  I have always used the "easy" calibration on my Color Munki, but due to the difference this time around, I decided to try and set it using the "advanced" calibration, which resulted in ANOTHER change in my display.  Of course, a mild panic set in at this point, as I had no idea which calibration was accurate and how to fix it (that's the problem with calibration - what do you have to match it against except prints?!)

I've basically now gone through a full advanced calibration, and I've been trying to check my prints against my monitor (and try to get my monitor to match them in brightness etc) so that I know that what I am seeing on my screen is an accurate reflection of how it will look when printed out.    I'm using my home printer to test (which I use quite a lot for small prints) and everything is now looking OK, but in order to finish this off I need to do this with an external printer too, but hopefully that is my monitor and me back to a happy place.

I think that the problem arose from my using the auto correct feature on the Color Munki - you leave a sensor on the desk and it measures the ambient light and adjusts your screen brightness accordingly.  I edit both during the day and at night so it seemed to be the best thing to do, but I am guessing that it has actually made my screen look too dark, and I have been overcompensating in editing and making my images too bright.  When I calibrated, it took me back to where my screen brightness SHOULD have been, and freaked me out in the process. This is a guess as to what happened, but it is fairly standard advice to control the light that you are editing in so it is always consistent, rather than changing your monitor to match your light..... and now I see why. 

So, basically, although I've done the calibration and checked the prints, I want to play for a few more days so that I'm 100% sure that I was I am seeing is correct, then I'll go back and change some of the edits I've already done, assuming I need to.

For now, two edits side by side - one done last week, and one done now that I've re-calibrated. 

If you ignore for a moment which one is correct, that is quite a big difference between the two images.  

(Although I'm curious - if my monitor is now correct, the first one is too bright, looking a touch overexposed, and her skin quit pale and pasty looking, and the second should still be a bright edit, but with colour and detail back in the skin.  I know you won't see exactly what I see - because your monitor might be too bright or too dark - but if anyone would like to chime in and tell me if that corresponds to what they see, I'd love to hear it!) 

It does go to show just how different you will edit based on your screen brightness, so it does help to take into consideration the light that you are editing and calibrating in.

So, if this new calibration is right, all the images I have done over the last week (and there were many) are going to be too bright and I'm going to have to go and re-edit them all.  Grrrr......