*A quick color balancing tutorial vid using Exposure, with @alienskin

Hello everyone.  If you have ever been plagued by color casting or color temperature imbalance, here is a quick and easy way to neutralize color shift in an image.  I shoot a lot of product shots, and often do so with congruous backgrounds.  In these cases, I’ll often use different lights to get everything lit just the way I want it.  This often brings in some issues when wanting to balance that color in post.  Using Alien Skin Exposure (click here to give it a free trial and follow along), by converting a layer to a fairly flat, black and white image, I can control the shift in color while bringing back color where I want it to be.  As opposed to trying to reiterate the video, just give it a watch, and c’mon in for a few example before and afters…


As mentioned in the video, I tend to use this technique for all the gear shots here on the blog.  It helps bring blacks back to black, and removes the red and/or green casts that tend to show up with many light sources.  Shooting a grey card, and sampling that grey card is a great way to get a base established, but even with that, often times, if using different light sources, that isn’t enough.  See this next example where I shot and sampled a 50% grey target to get the color temp set in the before image.



It properly balanced the light temperature across the tones in the image, but that light gave off a fairly red tint.  If looking at the before and after from the above image on their own, the red doesn’t seem nearly as, well, red, but next to each other, it’s pretty obvious that there was quite the color cast.  The before image above is straight out of the camera with the only adjustment being the grey card sampling.  The after image has obviously undergone some perspective adjustment, but otherwise it is the same image with this technique applied and me masking the sculpture back in to bring back it’s true color.

Finally, while great for product shots as seen above, it can also be a fun one for portraits too.  See my friend, and fellow ELK homie, Erin below.


Using a nice, low contrast black and white layer in Exposure, at about 50% opacity, and then masking her hair, hat and eyes back in, it helps dull the red background tint, and helps soften her skin and neutralize the red in it as well.  A handy head shot technique!

Thanks for the read.  If you’re interested in what Alien Skin software has going on, you can check them out through my Alien Skin affiliate link HERE.  All their stuff is free to try, and I’d certainly suggest it if interested.  It’s great.

Thanks for the read.  As always I greatly appreciate it, and would love to hear your thoughts.  If you’ve not yet, connect with me on the socials, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.  I really enjoy chatting about stuff, and I’m always game for some collaborative interneting, so hit me up.  If you prefer email, please feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here.  You’ll get email alerts as new articles are released.

Happy shooting,


2 thoughts on “*A quick color balancing tutorial vid using Exposure, with @alienskin

  1. hey Tyson…this is an interesting approach to making a kindof global shift…we love to play don’t we?!
    Am I missing something…or can I just do this basic procedure within Photoshop itself by creating a B&W layer there and following through with the rest of the steps?.. Are you using the alien skin to introduce a texture or “look” to the image by choosing a particular B&W Film-type? I know that there are no “rights or wrongs”…but I think I am missing part of your thought process and trying to understand it more thoroughly. That’s all.
    (BTW I picked up a Voigt 10.5mm and it is really a fun lens!)


    • Hi Bob! The technique can certainly be used with any B&W conversion software, yes. I use Exposure because of the level of control, especially with the ability to easily control different tonal levels and grain, but of course, one could do it with whichever software they choose.

      I would love to have a play around with that new Voigty. An UWA prime, especially something this fast, has been lacking for the system. I can only imagine that it is going to be a killer lens.



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