Fixing Mixed Color Casts in Lightroom 4 Beta
One really cool new feature with Lightroom 4 Beta is the ability to modify color with Lightroom’s brushes. This comes in so handy when you have split lighting. For me I always believe we should really nail our lighting, exposure and white balance when shooting but since I focus primarily on weddings I know that isn’t always possible to do. At weddings you can move from one location to another in a minute and have to be ready to shoot right away, many times you don’t really have the time to set some lights up and gel them so are dealing with mixed lighting. A lot of times i’ll be shooting in a church that has tungsten light inside which gives off a nice warm light but then the bride is walking in through big doors and is flooded with daylight. I always want to exposure for the bride so have my white balance set to daylight and the interior of the church in the background will now be way off. There are lots of different times this can happen and if you can’t correct for it in camera Lightroom 4 now lets you create a adjustment brush to change the color balance.
Here is one quick example. This shot was at night and lit inside with some strong tungsten lights. I was shooting her walking in from behind and had to light her with just a on camera flash. My white balance was set for that to expose her correctly but the inside then got to be a little too warm and takes the attention of your eye. It’s not too distracting but evening this out in Lightroom is now a breeze.
First just select the brush in the develop module. If you aren’t familiar with the brush tool in Lightroom check out this overview here: Using brushes in Lightroom.
Paint in the area you need to modify the color and then use the color slider to adjust. Here I just removed a lot of the yellow and sometimes you might want to dial down the saturation a little bit also.
Play around with the color sliders and any other adjustment settings to get the balance to fit the look that you are going for. I didn’t try to tone down the light in the ceiling but can easily create a 2nd adjustment brush selection just for those lights and then tune down the highlights to try and tone them down and make them less distracting.
Another example is when shooting with window light. This shot was a image once the bride was finished getting ready and sat down for a minute on a chair right by the window. It gave great light on her but the background was lit with a few lamps that gave it a little too much of an amber color. Many times I do love having some warmness to the image and like the contrast in colors to help give this glow around people. But it also can distract and take the eyes away from your subject and onto the background which you really don’t want. Here I did the same thing as the first example, a very fast brush around the background and then took the yellow slider down about halfway. You can see the difference in where your eye focus on with the left image (original) compared to the right image that was adjusted. I am glad to see that Adobe is building more fine controls into Lightroom 4, it will help many of us work quicker while still being able to do some creative editing.
Also remember that balance isn’t always what you are going for, sometimes you want to have part of the image a little bit warmer or cooler to guide the viewers eye around the image. First have a creative vision for your shot and then use the tools that we have available to us to execute on that creative vision!
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