Tutorial Shows How to Correct Skin Tones, Colorize Shadows and Add Light Effects

When it comes to nailing the white-balance in a photo, it’s rarely an easy task, especially with portraits. It becomes even more arduous when you’re trying to stylize the image a certain way, since you might not want the same tones and color balance in your skin tones as you do in the rest of your image.

This tutorial by the folks at Phlearn shows you how to get past those challenges and achieve the results you want in every part of your photo without having to sacrifice elsewhere.

What we liked about this video is that, in ten minutes, he basically brings this image to life. The composition and execution were solid, but the effect the photographer was going for had made his models’ skin look very blue and washed out.

Phlearn Screenshot

Using curves, adjustment layers and other standard tools, Aaron Nace fixes this problem entirely by correcting the skin tones first, and then adding back in the effects that the photographer wanted by colorizing the shadows and even putting in a light effect.

It’s a great look at how to get the end result you want from a photo without sacrificing quality elsewhere in the image.

Check out the video to see how it’s down for yourself and then, when you’re done, be sure to give these techniques a shot and let us know how they work out for you.

(via Phlearn)

  • Jeremy Madore

    Enjoyable tutorial! Thanks for posting.

  • Erik H

    Really excellent. I’ve never had luck with the “light gradient” 70s-ish effect, but this explains it perfectly. Thanks!

  • Katsudon

    I’m gonna help you to make your D3 shots look like out of a Holga.

    PHotoshop PHor PHipsters :)

    I’m kidding, good video otherwise.

  • Bob

    To be honest i find him skitting all over the place in this tutorial and sneaking in stuff he doesn’t really explain fully, like using the master hue to adjust the skin tones when he already adjusted the skin tones a couple of steps earlier. I have about 30 images i need to correct and i want them all to be consistent, this style of processing i just get totally lost in. When you mess around with colours too much you lose sense of what’s real. Why does everyone want instagram style cross processed colours?? You can’t make an average photo excellent with cross bleeding processing so if you must change the colours why not just get rid of them and convert to B+W instead, much more classy.

  • Angela Ferguson

    In my opinion, skin should be taken care of after achieving a good white balance and then add in stylizing effects if you choose. This way you’re starting your post-processing with a good basic image and you can always mask out a stylizing effect. This also stresses the importance of keeping your originals instead of saving over them. I like the more golden tones of the after image.

  • Rick

    Actually, I’ve recently discovered this PHLEARN guy and he knows a lot, really learned plenty of tricks in Photophop. Thank you Aaron Nace. Cheers and keep up the good work.

  • M

    Good tutorial, easy to understand, but I don’t like where he goes with it. Way too warm for me.
    A good learning experience though.