It’s officially hot outside in my neck of the woods, but that doesn't mean I can to take a break from shooting outside! I still have to sweat it out, hauling my gear around from location to location and that means my clients have to feel the sting of the summer heat as well. Although it’s steaming out, I don’t want my images to look like they were taken inside the nearest oven set to broil. Thankfully, there is a super quick and easy way to fix those heat flushed skin tones.
When I’m editing photos, I try and get the majority of my work done within Lightroom. For a wedding, I might need to take less than 5% of my photos into Photoshop. So I was pretty excited when I found out how I could fix slight colors casts right from within Lightroom. Below is the image straight out of camera (SOOC) along with what the image looks like with my custom preset applied upon import.
It’s looking pretty good at this point, but the first thing that stands out to me is the slight red cast on their faces. We did this shoot in Oklahoma when it was 95 degrees and 85 percent humidity so it’s understandable. I don’t want to try and fix this with color balance though, because the color in the rest of the image looks good. The trick is to use the hue and saturation panel within Lightroom.
There is no real science to this part. I just grab a slider and push and pull in both directions to see what it effects and then dial it in till I like the effect. For the flushed skin, I just dialed the red slider more toward the orange side of the hue to make a better match for the rest of the skin tones in the image. I could have stopped here but since I’m playing around with these sliders I might as well see what else I can do. Since her lips were also red, I affected the color of them when I fixed the skin. So when playing with the Magenta slider, I noticed that I could take that value closer to the red side and it would bring back some of the color in her lips. Lastly, I noticed the Yellow slider only affected her hair, so I used this hue adjustment to give her hair more of a golden blond color.
When playing around with these sliders, it’s important to remember that they will affect the entire image. This image worked out very well because there was no other red colors in the image. If the groom had on a red tie, then my adjustment to fix the skin would also affect the tie. I would then have to decide if that color change of the tie was acceptable to me. If not, then I could open up multiple versions of the image in Photoshop and blend them together. Maybe one day Photoshop will add the hue saturation adjustments to the adjustment brush… I think that would be pretty awesome.
For the final edit, I only did two more things. I slightly darkened everything around her face with a radial gradient filter to draw the viewer's eye more to her face. I also used a gradient filter to take away some of the sharpness from her shoulder because I found it to be a bit distracting. In all, the image took about 30 seconds to fully edit.
What technique do you use to fix red flushed skin? What else do you use the hue saturation sliders for?