Remove Grain & Fix Color in Lightroom
Dark right, grainy. 32,000, 2,500 for this one. I did not need to be at 2,500. That's not that fast though, so realistically I probably would have had to bring this down to expose this to about 8,000 iso to get down, right, low enough at the shutter speed, which is high, that's high for a lot of cameras. Probably could have brought it down a little bit more, maybe to 6,000 if you have a steady hand. I was shooting this at 2.2. Another thing I could have done is opened up my lens. All teaching moments here, okay? So let's go ahead I'm gonna show you how I do these. I think what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna do, I love number five on these backlit, I love this color tone. Few things I like to do with number five, so if you have these write this down. Number one the first thing we are gonna do is we are gonna fix that grain. Look at the grain, here it is close up in detail. See over here? Grainy, because who shoots at 32,000, nobody, ever. Most people would avoid the room, honestly, right? Bu...
t we did this on purpose so we could teach you. Noise reduction, let's see. Let's pull that puppy up a little bit. I'm gonna show you before and after, let's do that. Too much for me, way too much for me, pull it down a little bit. You are gonna have to learn to be okay with some noise. Some, now, there is a difference between noise from iso and there is a different between exposure noise. You can under expose or under expose an image and get a different type of noise. You work on that with the color sliders. Now, she's too yellow for me. What do we do, what's my go to?
Drop the oranges.
Drop the orange in sat, or yellow in saturation. Dropping it down. Still to much for me, so I need her skin to be a little bit brighter. So I'm gonna take my luminesce, I'm gonna pull it up in orange a little bit. Maybe up a little bit in yellow. That's better for me. And another thing you can do is you can pull the magenta up a tiny bit. That's about as high as I would go. Nikons shoot green, so the majority of my images, do you see how much better her skin looks now just by sliding that yellow and orange luminesce slider? Presets make things fun, they don't fix bad skin tones. That's what you have to do in those sliders. Another thing you can do is come down here to these, down here in these primaries. Take the red down. Play with these. Oh, there is goes, that's too much right? Play with it though, play with these so you can see what they do. I even prefer that. That's a gorgeous image to me. We saved it, right? We saved it. I don't want you to think I'm teaching you how to save images. I'm teaching you how to shoot correctly, but if you have to save an image I can hear people going out there, "If you only shot it at 8,000 iso." Pretty, right? Yes.
Question from Janet Marcom who said, "Can you talk about white balance" "and how to tell if a skin tone is the right color?" She says, "I have so much trouble which color," "which skin tone color is right" "after she leaves the shoot." So how do you kind of know if that is the right tone?
Yeah, and this color looks so different to you guys on my computer. Later I'm gonna show you this, everything's calibrated differently. Skin tone is an eye thing. A lot of people take their dropper and say, "These numbers have to be here, and here, and here," but who has the same skin tone color? Nobody out there. So you need to be mindful of it's a visual thing. Number one, calibrate your computer. Computers need to be calibrated. Mac computers come at a temperature of 7,500 Kelvin. For instance one of our main labs, Miller's Lab, 5,000 Kelvin. So when I'm calibrated to a certain lab imagine how different that looks on an iMac that's not calibrated, okay? This is actually a really good thing to talk about, because when you are selling your photos later, you want to meet your clients in your coffee bar, if you don't have a studio you want to try to meet them somewhere, show them your images on your calibrated computer, because it's gonna look different to them. It's gonna look blue on their computer, cool, cool, cool, cool on their computer, or orange depending on which lab you're going with. Some labs are calibrated at 6,500. Some labs are calibrated at 7,000. All labs are different. Why they can't be the same, I have no idea. It would make all of our jobs easier. And why Mac hasn't decided to go head, or Apple hasn't decided to bring their temperature down is beyond me too. Maybe one day, this is good. Come on guys let's do it, write letters. But the calibration is very, very important, and that's a really good question. So skin tone, it's a visual thing. And not only that, some people prefer cooler skin tone, some people prefer warm images. Think about film stock for instance, like Agfa Vista. It's warm, it's pink. There's like the 100s, the 400s, those are pink film stocks, right? Kodak Golds, those are warmer skin tones. Every type of film stock has a different skin tone. The reason that is is because, that's not a rule, it's a personal preference. You don't want someone having green skin obviously, and we don't want someone being orange like an Oompa Loompa, right? But you can have variations, and it's all personal preference. If you go start looking at Instagram and Pintrest and looking at some beautiful images, like I am obsessed with Blissful Maven, she's one of my absolute favorite photographers. Her work is dark, her skin tones are a little bit moodier. For me I try to do that to my images, I can't do it. It never looks like hers. So I go back to what I do. It's a personal preference, it's an art thing, no art is wrong unless you have a green or orange person. Yes.
When you calibrate do you prefer calibration software like ColorMunki, or do you take a profile from say Miller's?
I take their profile and I use the ColorMunki, that's actually what I use, and I calibrate it to their profile. Then I order test prints and I get the test prints back and they typically don't match. Then I recalibrate according to the test prints, then I send it out again, then I get test prints. I just did this with four labs because one of my labs was sending back images that had a lot of banding and all the other labs did not have the banding, so I wanted to see if it was me or the printer. Banding is really, really common in whites, you know those circles you get around. I have an all-white studio so I can not have banding going on in my images. So as much as I was playing with it in Photoshop I could not see the banding, and photographers looking at me like, "Why is this so crazy?" So I literally ordered from four labs and the one lab had the banding and the others didn't, so it happened to be the printer. It's very important after you calibrate to get test prints back, if you're calibrating for print. Calibrating for web and calibrating for print is very different. And it's hard as a photographer because you're showing your images on everybody's uncalibrated computers. Michael, who we all learned about earlier in the show, who I love to death, he's my guy, he saves me all the time. His computer is calibrated at blue, all my stuff looks blue, I'm like, "What are you doing?" He's like, "I have to do it for these design things." I'm like, "Oh, okay." But it's painful for me to see my pictures on his computer. I'm like, "Are there people seeing it like that?" And you just gotta let it go, because it is what it is. Okay? Yeah.
What about the clients that have a really bad tan, something like that where they look orangy.
That's a really good luminesce orange saturation slider tactic. Typically if they have a really bad tan they know. But it does happen a lot with seniors. I don't photograph many seniors, but when I do it's like, "Oh, spray tan gone bad." Yeah, saturation orange.
How do you take care of the 35 millimeter distortion?
Oh, I'll show you that, good question. Now, I was telling how the 35 doesn't distort, and it really doesn't that much. I prefer when I'm shooting this close up to click this enable profile correction on your lens correction. So there's before. All it does is get rid of the vignette essentially. Some people prefer the vignette some people don't. I just don't prefer it. I actually like it on this one of course. But either way it works. I just typically have it clicked on my Lightroom because that's the way I prefer my images. The 24 millimeter I absolute have to click that on the edges and it just straightens it out. So you think about the warping tool, in Photoshop you can warp things. Sometimes we've gotten into that we're like, "What do we do, we've warped it accidentally?" So that's what we're doing is we're warping the edges back. Let's do black and white. Grainy grainy grainy. I left this dark and I exposed for the what? Highlights. Specifically for black and white. I like the way this looks, I wouldn't touch it. When I am shooting for black and white I make sure the highlights are not blown out, because that's the most important part all of a sudden, shadows can fall in black and white. For a moody black and white image, I expose for the highlights, and that's what I did here. The only thing with this one, this is number seven black and white is that I would come down here and get rid of this grain because lord knows 32,000, I have enough of it. The only thing I would like to do with this image. To me I could have it a little bit darker, a little bit contrastier. A lot of the black and whites I like to pull the contrast up, which is already up here. This is one of my things that I like to do. Another thing to do is to pull up the clarity and it makes it look contrastier. But you have to be careful of skin. Last but not least what do we do? Pull the shadows back down, to make it a little bit contrastier, for a black and white image. The other black and white was a little bit darker and this one is more matte finish. To get rid of that matte finish if you don't want so much matte, let me show you this trick. This is where you create matte finish, down here in the slider, can you guys see this right here? This is the matte finish creator of Emily. Take this left hand little doodad. You like my terms? And then pull it down and it kind of gets rid of some of that matte. So it's not quite as matte finish but I like it being moody like that. All right let's move on to one of these. Let's show you the ones where we did. Look how bright I made this room you guys. Let's zoom in again. What, that's crazy! Oh this is painful for me because I never shoot this way but I want to show you how to fix it. Oh, that gives me the heebie jeebies. Oops. We're going on a dance. All right, for this one. My dramatic ones, we're gonna show you black and white as well as a color. But what I want to show you is this is bothering me, it's a little bit crooked. I haven't decided if it's my camera or my head, but sometimes this happens. I'm gonna scroll down and I'm gonna turn a little bit to straighten it out. Do you guys see how I turned that right up there? I'm gonna straighten that out first, that just makes my brain feel better. A lot of people wonder, "Do we want to leave this in here?" I do, it's part of the story. I want something dramatic with this, I want something with deeper shadows, I want something that's gonna pull her hair back out, so I have some of those created in here. I like number two for this, because it's a good heavy edit. These are a lot heavier than typical. There's the four that's my go to, but it's light and bright which I don't think is right for this image, right? We're trying to brighten something that wasn't a bright image. So I want to go back to moody, I think I would keep it at one or two, my moodier ones. Maybe even five and just pull this exposure down a little bit. Number five has a lot more pink added to it, the reason this is, so if you have these write this down. Number five has more pink, and this is perfect for rooms that have green color casts because we know that magenta offsets green. So I specifically created number five for our Nikon cameras that shoot green and we're shooting in revere pewter rooms. If it's too much magenta and too much pink for you, come down here to the red primary and pull the saturation of that red down and that'll get rid of that. This was specifically created for green color casts. So for me what do I want to do with this image? I want to deepen some of these shadows, let me show you how to do that. First let's get rid of all those nasty grain cause lord knows we don't need any more. Let's pull some of this noise reduction up a little bit, we're gonna keep some grain there, that's already fixed a lot of it, see how it's just smoother. Let me show you again. I'll show you before and after. I'll zoom in for you guys. It's already fixing it a little bit. We're kind of bringing back her hair and the shadows and the contrast. Let me show you now ... All these new shortcuts, I'm thrilled. Let's bring some of these shadows back down, because what we did is we faked it. We faked the brightness in this room, let's bring it back to reality. So what you're gonna do is you gonna come into this preset. I've already changed the color tones how I like, this is the preset that I made. I'm gonna pull the blacks down and pull the shadows down. See how much of a better image that is now? It brings back the original mood of the photo. So if this happens to you, if you overshoot, if you overexpose, because you're trying to compensate for a dark room, and you shoot in raw, you can bring that back. I was spot metering. That being said I was spot metering from far away. I can miss metering, I'm human. I was trying meter off the highlights of her face, because to me that was gonna be the most important part of the picture, and it still is. Do you guys see the highlights of her face? The shadows don't matter in this. That brings the mood of the photo. So if you accidentally overexpose you can pull the shadows back down. If you have any questions with this, let me show you next to each other again. Let me pull in a little bit. Do you see the before and after? Presets don't necessarily fix things, but they can definitely help. Again, don't let this make you be a bad photographer. Nothing can replace good photography. I do not recommend this, shooting like this. Teaching purposes only. All right, so, what I would do now, let me show you one of these images. These were the falloff light images. See how we have the shadows back there? Another perfect opportunity to bring our shadows back down to create interest. You gotta think when you're editing, "What was my thought process when I was shooting this?" My thought process for a falloff light image was to have highlights and to have shadows, but cameras can naturally compensate and pull the shadows more than your eye was seeing. So these are things that we can kind of bring them back to in Lightroom. So here's number five. And all of these were created to bring the shadows back down. I just like the color tones of five in this home because of the green color cast. So let me show you the before and after just so you see this. Do you see how it brings the color back up to life, it gets rid of that gray, muddy tone. You're gonna have a lot of gray, muddy skin tones in home if you have windows that are closed, if you're deep into the home, if you're relying on light that's, keep in mind the light source was so far away, and in between the light source and me were a whole bunch of walls that were just not the color that I wanted my image to be. There's only so much your camera can do when you're in these situations if you don't bring lighting equipment. And you know that I don't use lighting equipment. So I want to show you how to work with these things if this were to happen. So let's go ahead and fix this. What do you think I'm gonna do next? I'm pretty like clockwork. I'm gonna get rid of the grain because it's a grainy image. Turn the scroll down slow so you can see where I'm going here. Okay, grain. Get rid of it, we don't want it. I'm gonna make the shadows come back because we lost our shadows. And I'm gonna pull down the yellows for skin, same thing. Okay, and that's what I would do, before and after. Okay. You guys see the difference? It kind of brings it back to life. You cameras, if you notice your images get flat, this is where you can fix them. All right, let's move on to, I want to show you. Here's a green one. Green, woo, that's green. Green, green, green. Green and grainy. So we're gonna use, what preset do you think we're gonna use to get rid of green? Number five, you're learning. But what happens to the orange? You got rid of the green but it made them Oompa Loompas. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna counter the saturation. Actually let's fix the noise first so I don't lose my mind here. What I do for you guys. Okay, get rid of the grain. We're gonna come down here, let's fix this orange skin. They have too much of a tan going on. It fixed the green, but it got it too orange. Saturation, yellow. Look at that. All I had to do was the yellow saturation. They're orange but it's really yellow that's in the skin. Next I'm gonna go up to the luminesce slider again and we're gonna brighten that orange skin tone. Now, up here the image is a little bit too yellow still so what I might do is just pull this down a tiny bit, so let's see the before and after now. Okay, before and after. Warms it up, softens it up, gives it some oomph. This is my process guys, super easy. Yellow saturation, orange luminesce slider, bring back the shadows, bring 'em back meaning make them shadowy again. Don't brighten them. Add some contrast. Okay let's do a dad image. I'm gonna show you this one. This is a really good backlit example. Now, this looks ugly. This is gross. It's yellow. It's yellow, it's dark. But, I knew in my mind the vision I had, what I was gonna do with this. I might have looked like a squirrel running around there but I had a thought. What I wanted to do when I shot this, I wanted a dramatic black and white image with dad. So in my mind I thought, "What is the most important thing" "when I'm shooting black and white?" Highlights and shadows, so I am going to meter and make sure my highlights act like my mid tone. My highlights act like the most important piece of information, knowing that this was gonna go to black and white. So do you see where the highlights are on the side of her head in the bow. That's the brightest part of the image. Let me show you what happens when this goes to black and white. Did you see what happened? Purposeful. I'm gonna scroll in so you can see this. Zoom in even. Okay. So you guys see the difference? It's just a moodier image. But because I exposed correctly, remember this goes back to black and white shooting. Because I exposed correctly for the highlights I'm able to do this. I now have a full tonal range which makes for a beautiful, dramatic black and white image. I would never try to make this into a bright black and white image because it wasn't a bright image to begin with. We were very limited on what we could work with in there, so you take what you can and you create something beautiful out of it. This was shot at, let me see. 4,000, so it was pretty high. You can do some of these dramaticy ones too if you want to. A color one and get rid of some of the tones, like this number one, and get rid of the yellow if you wanted to. I just prefer this in black and white only. I just prefer it in black and white, don't you guys? Let me show you the dramatic black and white. This is way too dark, but I'm gonna show you how to fix this. And actually some people might like this, right, moody? I would like it if I saw it in somebody else's work. I just can't wrap my brain to do it. What I'm gonna do to get rid of that matte, I'm gonna come over here and I like the darker, but I wanna get rid of some of the matte finish down here, and that helps it a little bit, and I can bring some of those shadows back up. Too much. Okay. And you can do cool crops with black and whites too if you want to, to change, and again try to shoot this correctly on camera, but I just want to show you. You can make an image out of that, tells us a different story, doesn't it? You can do a lot with black and whites. Here's the dog, let's do a dog one, because we need to. So well lit, highlights are fine, everything's fine, but it's just boring. So let's put number five, give it some oomph. Voila, we're good. These presets were created for how I shoot. It's a little bit pink for me, I'd probably come down here. I was using number five quite a bit on their home because it was pretty green. Pull that red primary down a little bit, it helps. This would be a cool black and white one too because I love dogs in black and white. Yeah I like that in black and white too. Yeah?
I have a question, back on the family picture where everyone was together on the bed, that we had in color.
On the bed or on the couch?
I think they were on the bed. Yeah, this one. Would you do anything to correct the blue shades that are in the white at all? Like the dad's color or the baby's wrap.
You could, you could go back and I would fix them in Photoshop if it really bugs you. It doesn't bother me that much, it's just the way that things were reflecting in that room, but you could, or you could come in here with the brush tool and you could brush off the blue. There's some really good tricks in that Lightroom class but you can brush off the blue if that bothers you. A lot of whites will pull blue, if you guys notice that, when they're really bright, it's one of those things.
It also looks different on this monitor.
Oh that's really blue on there. That's weird. I was like, "There's not that much blue but," there sure was on there.
I just have a question on your presets. Do you have different presets for non Caucasian skin tones, or do you edit them differently based on non Caucasian skin tones?
No, they're the same. All I do is have to pull down the exposure sometimes or mess with the shadows. No, they're the same. So I've got in here my clean set, and my clean sets my big one, that's my most popular, and that's really light and bright and happy images and that's what I've used for years. And this is my newer one that I was only using with my small group works shops.
So when you have an image that you, I think you mentioned it earlier that you liked it in both black and white and color, do you send both of those or do you pick?
Yes, first I put it on Facebook and I say, "What do you like better, color or black and white?" Because what does that do? It causes Facebook engagement, right? Because nobody sees anything on Facebook anymore, and that helps. So do that first though, little marketing tip.
So how do you make your skin tones look consistent across your entire gallery?
That's why I have the presets.
Great, someone was saying that in the different rooms it's different, and so how do you make that baby look the same?
That's a good question, and it took me a long time because that's exactly why I created these because I want everything to look consistent. Are they gonna have a fun skin tone or not? Now, if they have a house that's dark and moody like this one was although it's a really bright house, it's just we were there at the wrong time of the day to utilize that light. Remember the home was at 9:30, we would have really gone closer to 11, but just because everything was different that day. I would use my number four, and this set will also edit light and bright images really, really well so you can use number four on everything. So I created these presets for me, they really for me to use, I wasn't planning on selling them, but for me to use so I can actually have that consistent color. So I have all of my primaries and those kind of things changed so you can be consistent. There are times for the light and bright images I'll switch over to the clean set for Lightroom and do a just clean edit. You can always mesh a clean edit with a fun edit, I don't think that's a problem. This is my favorite, I'm obsessed with this picture. But yeah, you guys see the difference, and so let me show you this again because I really want to point this out. This is why I wanted to show black and white, because this is a very flat image. Most people would see this and be like, "Oh you should have brightened it up." But then if I brightened it up what would have happened with all that beautiful shadow?" You lose that shadow. So this is why it was really important for me in this class to talk about black and white. Black and white needs to be shot with the vision. You need to know it's turning into black and white. You would be surprised when you see a lot of these big photographers shooting these gorgeous black and white images, what they look like in color. You just have to make sure, you're not thinking in terms of color. You are thinking in terms of tonal range, in terms of highlights to shadows with black and white. The color can matter. Let me show you one last little trick. Let me show you something. Watch this as I change the warmth. Look at the mid tones and the highlights. If you want to brighten baby's skin, mid tone or highlights, come up here to this white balance. I do not touch my white balance until I've converted it to black and white. And that's a really good way to brighten up skin. Little trick, trick of the trade. You guys are all staring at me like, everybody's writing stuff down.
This is where it can get hard and confusing, especially when you're new and when you're going through. So maybe just one more before we move on. I have one more question because I know this is a big one with regard to skin tones is the skin tone of the baby is different on the skin tone of the parent. One's more yellow, one's more olive, one's more pink. How do you approach that?
You do the best that you can to kind of get a middle skin tone, just the best that you can. A lot of times you're gonna have to brush off yellow off of a client. So you get your brush tool and you brush off the yellow if it's that drastic. Typically if you had a little bit of magenta it kind of evens skin tone out I've found and that's what a lot of these presets have added to them. Green isn't, green pulls so harshly in homes, have you guys noticed that? With gray walls or any of that, so magenta tends to kind of help with skin tones. If it's that bad I would go into Photoshop and start messing with it. But I haven't run across an issue where it's been that bad, as long as you can get your white balance as close as you possibly can. And remember white balance is warm or cool. You're gonna be fixing your magenta and your greens in post processing unless you can kind of tweak some of that within your camera body. So Nikon's pull green big time. The inside of my camera body does have the magenta bumped over. Inside the camera body. I have a down one. So if you're wondering notice there's a cross bar here for the magenta and the green, you know you have your whole color gram. You pull it down and over to the magenta one. So down one over one is where I have my Nikon set to. I know because people will be emailing me, so that's where it's at.