It’s been a while since I’ve a tutorial of any sort, so I thought I’d expand on my one-minute edit and do something a little more advanced. For this, the screenshots you will see are from Adobe CameraRaw and Photoshop CS4 because that was what I had open, generally I would probably do most of this in Lightroom with a splash of CS4 – however, this tutorial does also work for LR, the tools are just in a slightly different format in LR.

This tutorial really focuses on some tools to recover detail and fix color washes. The other night, I was shooting a show that had intense color washes of every color – green, blue, magenta, red, etc. It was hard to meter for, but worse than that, the photos were just flat since everything was a monotone of the current wash color.

I started off with this:


First thing I did was adjust white balance, exposure, recover some highlights with the recovery slider, fill lights, clarity, etc.  These are standard edits that I do to all my photos.

I also turned down the vibrance a bit, so that the color wasn’t so overpowering.  I return it just about to the standard amount at the end of the edit since I like nice, colorful pictures, but I find turning it down at this step gives me a better slate to work with:


I then went to the HSL tab, where I adjusted the hue of the magenta color – bumping it all the way to the right to add a bit more yellow:


Then I adjusted the saturation of the magenta, turning it down a bit, since it was so saturated and overpowering:


And to get some detail in the face and skin, I increased the luminance of the magenta:


This is kind of the trick… I went to the split tone tab and adjusted the highlight and shadow tones until the colors seemed more natural in the image:


And, like I said, I went back and turned up the vibrance now that I had made the rest of my adjustments:


As one last small step, this one done in Photoshop  - I took out a bit of the red, because I thought the image was still a little too warm:


This is my final version, after slight cropping and a bit of sharpening… tada!:


Compare it to the “before”:


While the color is still not what you’d get from an arena light show, there is only so much you can do with certain types of light.  I feel that after the edits, I got a usable photo that has a bit of dimension and detail to it! The whole edit took me under five minutes.

Do you have a trick that you use to combat washes? Please share!

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