Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Consistent Tones in Post

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    I have both Adobe CC and Lightroom 4 and I could seriously use some advice on how to get consistent tones in post production. I’ll have a set that looks good but then I’ll go back through later and find little inconsistencies here and there that are driving me crazy! I could seriously use some help with it.


    A good starting point would be to use a grey card and then sync the colour temp of all the shots. If the light changes for example if you shoot a wedding you may want to do that between each “scene” (outside church, inside church, outside after church, mingling, reception, dance). If that is tricky use a known colour for colour settings, the brides dress is a good place to start. Some shots may still look out and then you need to adjust those manually, the library grid view in lightroom is a good place to see if the colours match. Each scene can have its own tones as long as they aren’t very different from the other scenes. If you shoot at sunset it gets more difficult though

    Worst Case Scenario

    Are you using a colour profile in LR that was made for your camera?


    To be perfectly honest, I don’t even know how to take advantage of light room. I bought it for $20 bucks right before 5 came out (it was too good a deal to not try). I’ve only ever worked in Photoshop CS before, so Lightroom is a whole new beast to me.

    It’s good to know there will be some natural variances from image to image as long as they aren’t noticeable. The shoot in mind that made me ask this question was actually at Golden Hour/Sunset/Twilight and they moved locations multiple times so I tried to get a consistent tone going and somehow wound up with like, 5 really blue shots.


    @ iliketag – I was a late adapter of LR, but I find it does saves ton of time when editing “like” scenes. I do a lot of portraits and sports action photos, so my scenes can be very similar. I try not to PS a shot unless it calls for a special effect or look that I can can’t fully achieve in LR.

    I have found for the features that I don’t know how to use, Youtube has been a very useful resource. It also helps you feel better that your not the only one asking certain questions about how to use something.
    Like WCS said, it has the camera/lens profiles in there that correct the distortions of many camera/lens combinations, that can very helpful. You can create your own, but from what I hear, you need a rocket surgery degree to do it.

    I like LR because I can create a catalog of shots from one session and go from there. It is basically ACR with a nice fancy GUI in front of it with some extra features tossed in that Adobe would not be able to sell on their own, like the web slideshow exporter. Nice but utter crap, IMO, same goes with the web HTML/Flash exporter. Probably a lot better if you download some better templates, but out of the box, not so great.
    Overall, I think LR is a good streamline tool, but it is not cut out for every type of shooter. LR 4 is fine, you got a good deal for $20.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Dear Bill I’m going to have to disagree with you! It’s the bits of lightroom that you don’t get in ACR that makes it awesome. The print module on its own is worth more than the $20.

    But back to the colour problem, unless shooting EVERY pic with a grey card in it is an option, you are never going to get perfect colour every time. And if you are shooting portraits, some people have very red skin tones (and they always stand next to some one with jaundice) so getting the actual colour is not always what you want.

    There’s a few things you can do that will help, the camera calibration panel is a good place to start. If your camera is supported there’s probably more than one profile, choose the one that looks best. Even if it’s the landscape profile and you only shoot portraits. If your camera isn’t supported look on line. I found profiles for my Sony a850 with out to much trouble.

    But don’t be afraid to alter the profiles if you still don’t like the effect. Making one from scratch is a nightmare, but if you have one that’s pretty good, but just a bit to red in the reds, than alter it to taste.

    I’m still using LR4 but I started with the LR  1 beta so if you have any specific questions, I should at least be able to tell you how I would deal with it.


    And if you are shooting portraits, some people have very red skin tones (and they always stand next to some one with jaundice) so getting the actual colour is not always what you want.

    LOL!  I didn’t realize you were shooting me in your spare time!


    I started using LR for the keyword database, but quickly found I could do the majority of my editing in it. The noise reduction is great, as are the lens corrections and all editing that doesn’t require layers.


    As far as consistent tones, you need consistent light. The biggest source of bad tones I get comes from different colors of light.


    Not a problem to disagree WCS, everyone has a different take on things including LR, so no worries.

    I will have to re-state my original statement to better clarify then. LR is at it’s core ACR with additional features packed in to make it a more robust tool besides for RAW image processing.
    There are features to LR that I don’t use, just like photoshop. I’m sure the full list of features probably fits the majority of users but not everyone.
    As for the print module, for me, it is great if I need to bang out some quick proof sheets, but besides that I don’t use it, but that is probably because I do not do my own printing.
    For the color aspect, I typically do not shoot with a gray card, I shoot with a color checker passport for at least one of the series of shots of similar scenes unless it is something from the hip. I feel that the color checker gives me better control over color like the example you gave about people with reddish complexions.

    LR5, takes it a step further and allows you to do paint brush adjustments just like previous versions but no with color temp control instead of just exposure, brightness, sharpness and contrast. So with the example you gave, this problem is now easier to deal with. In short, you can color correct multiple hot/cool spots within the image instead of just one global temp adjustment, cool huh?


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