Washing Your Colours

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Lake Windermere, Ambleside, the Lake District. Sony A7r + 70-300 Canon lens. ISO100, 1/100" at f/14.0
Lake Windermere, Ambleside, the Lake District. Sony A7r + 70-300 Canon lens. ISO100, 1/100″ at f/14.0

I’m sure you have experienced it. You shoot a nice image but when you come to process it, you just can’t seem to achieve a good colour balance. The image above is one such example. No matter how much I tried to adjust the Colour Temperature and Tint in Lightroom, I couldn’t get it to look the way that I wanted. The more I tried, the less certain I became about what I was trying to achieve. In the end I reset the sliders to what the camera captured (it was set to AWB at the time) and produced the following image.

Example conversion from Lightroom
Example conversion from Lightroom

This was shot about an hour after sunrise yesterday and whilst it was quite a colourful scene, it doesn’t give the impression of being very cold. Despite this, I pushed on and processed the image with Topaz Clarity to produce the following.

Example following further work in Topaz Clarity
Example following further work in Topaz Clarity

Whilst I like the effect the Clarity adjustment has on the image, it made me even more certain that I wanted to change the colour balance. That’s when I turned to ColorWasher, one of the plug-in’s I recently mentioned as having purchased over Christmas.

The software is intended to correct colour cast and contrast problems and appears very effective at this. What has really impressed me is the very natural results that are produced.

It can be set to operate in two modes Easy and Expert. So far, I have only been using the Easy Mode in which much of the adjustment is automated. Whilst I’m not normally a fan of automated adjustments, it is very effective. You can see a screenshot of the interface below.

ColorWasher Interface in Easy Mode
ColorWasher Interface in Easy Mode

When using the Easy mode three colour corrections are possible, each giving a different feel to the image. I tried all three but settled on the one that retained some of the scenes warmth whilst also allowing the more distant trees to take on a cooler blue hue. The other other two (one neutral and one cool) were both appealing but I preferred one with some warmth as its how I remembered the scene.

The other correction I made was to Autofix the Exposure. The final result is the one that you see at the top of the page.

If you would like to try out the software, it’s produced by PhotoWiz and is available from the Plugin Store website. A trial version is available for download which places a watermark on the image. Whilst this prevents you from using the finished image, it does allow you to evaluate the software.

I’m looking forward to exploring its capabilities in much greater detail.

5 thoughts on “Washing Your Colours

    Andrew said:
    January 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Interesting stuff. Definitely subtle tweaks, but that of course is what we fret over…

    I wonder if this shot would be a good candidate for split-toning, as the warm and cool colours seem pretty strongly divided across light/dark value?

      thelightweightphotographer said:
      January 20, 2016 at 7:42 am

      It’s quite odd. Looking at the images in the post the changes appear subtle but when I was ma

        thelightweightphotographer said:
        January 20, 2016 at 7:44 am

        Making them they appeared more pronounced. I’m not too sure about split toning as I have never really cracked the technique to my satisfaction.

    aughton said:
    January 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Robin
    The subtle changes using alternative software, are incredible, but of course the results conclude on each individuals own thoughts. Is it possible to get a list of software companies and their contents, and usage, etc. I saw your comments on your choices last week, so you will be able to volunteer a source?
    Regards
    Ian

      thelightweightphotographer said:
      January 20, 2016 at 7:47 am

      I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you looking for a listing of software plugins I use and why? Happy to share but I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for.

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