***This tutorial was posted on our expansive photography forum; however, we think it’s so rad that we just had to share with you, too***
Ever capture an incredible moment only to realize your subject has bright color casts on their face due to light reflecting off their neon color shirt?
A color cast is a tint of a particular color which can affect part of your image. It’s usually unwanted especially on human subjects because it can alter the look of their natural skin tone.
Here are some tips to avoid or correct color casts.
Avoid wearing bright colors.
This is especially true in harsh light. Bright colors like neon pink are going to reflect that color onto your subject (typically in the shadows of their face). It can be extremely tedious to try and remove the color cast in post processing so if possible it’s best to avoid these colors especially if you know you are going to be in harsh light.
Study how the light falls on your subject.
I think a lot of us have run into a situation where green grass has cast color on our subject. This usually happens again in bright or harsh light. There are a couple things you can do to avoid this.
One way to avoid it is to find open shade. Open shade is where your subject is standing in shade instead of direct sunlight and is facing an open sky.
If your subject is too close to the shade line, you could still be dealing with green color casting from the bright sun on the grass. Try and pull your subject as far away from the harsh light as you can.
In the image set below you can see my son is wearing neutral clothing. It was sunny that morning and we are in the shade. The shade line is just a few feet behind me.
Another way to avoid green color casting is to move your subject if you are able. Find pavement that isn’t going to cast color especially in harsh light. Black pavement is going to absorb the light while white pavement is going to reflect it.
Sometimes color casts are unavoidable.
My house is surrounded by trees. In the summer, I’m constantly dealing with green color castings on my children. There’s nothing I can do about this unless I were to cut our trees down which, of course, isn’t going to happen.
I’ve included a video to show you different ways to take care of green color casting in both Lightroom and Photoshop.
When possible, I do try to avoid having my subjects wear bright colors. If clients ask me what they should wear to a session, I typically encourage neutrals and rich colors. I recommend that they try and coordinate but not worry about being too matchy-matchy.
With my children, I often have them dress in timeless, simple clothing. There are a few reasons for this.
One because I gravitate towards that style. They could care less about what they wear right now, I think because they are still so young but I know that eventually they might want to wear a neon green superhero t-shirt. Also, I know simple, neutral clothing will photograph well.
Lastly, if you are interested in selling stock photography you want to avoid clothing with logos, etc.
It’s ideal, of course, to avoid color casts if you are able. I know that’s not always the case, especially when shooting in harsh light in the summer.
It can be tedious removing color casts but I with the editing video within this tutorial, it’ll help quicken your workflow when you have to remove color casting.
The important thing to remember is to try to pay attention to how the light is falling on your subject. Anything from paint color to clothing can cast color on your subjects skin.