Summer is ALMOST here, even if it doesn't feel like it on days like today! On this rainy Tuesday, I want to share some tips with you about shooting in bright sunlight. This is one of the most frequent issues many photographers run in to who message me;
"How do I keep my subjects from turning GREEN in the summer sunlight!?" OR "How do I fix their green skin?"
This one for me was the most tricky to figure out. I mean, just take a look at some of my old work below:
I know! Try not to shudder at everything wrong with it. This was from my start out days. Try and focus on the skin. lol
Figuring out skin tones and how to keep them from going yellow or green in the summertime was difficult and I see many photographers who struggle with this. So how do you avoid it? Do you just skip shooting around greenery during the summertime like it's the plague!? I mean.. you could but, I do not think your greenery-loving clients would be too thrilled.
Here's a few simple tips to keep your skin tones in check in the summer when you're shooting around greenery:
1 - Educate your client! This may seem like a no-brainer, BUT! If you are not educating your clients on what to wear to their portrait sessions, you are doing yourself and your clients a great disservice. If your clients are adamant about shooting in a park or a place where there's lots of greenery, you'll need to educate them on what to wear. Some colors to definitely avoid? Greens, yellows and solid white! Now, these colors can absolutely be pulled off during the right hour - GOLDEN HOUR. However, golden hour doesn't always fit into everyone's schedule. So avoid those colors all together when prepping your clients for their session.
2 - White Balance. By now, if you're shooting in manual, you should also be in control of your white balance. Typically, I shoot with my white balance set to Shade or Cloudy to give my photos an extra boost of a golden glow. However, if I am shooting in brighter sunlight or near greenery, I flip my switch either to Sunlight or my custom setting if it's still super bright. If you're not familiar with custom white balance settings, the way I found my "sweet-spot" was I went out at different times in the day, around greenery, and I played around with my white balance settings until I felt comfortable with what I had. Now, there are easier methods, such as using a white/grey card to balance it, but, I learn how to control my settings much better through trial and error.
3 - Step AWAY from the greenery! Ok, but really. If you or your client are absolutely 100% dead-set on shooting around greenery in the day time, avoid standing directly under or near the greenery. Well.. other than the grass, of course! Pull your clients away from the trees or bushes where the leaves are over-casting onto their skin. This may seem like a simple fix, but, it is one of the most difficult to remember when in the middle of a session. Especially when we find that *ONE* gorgeous tree that we just HAVE to shoot underneath. You know what I'm talking about!
So, what happens if after following ALL of these steps, you get home and your clients STILL have a green overcast? Well, I'm sorry.. but tough luck.
Ok, not really. I'm kidding! It's a simple fix in Photoshop or Lightroom (or whichever other program you use). Think about color balance and remember this simple trick:
To take away YELLOW -> add MAGENTA and/or BLUE
To take away GREEN -> add CYAN and/or RED
It's that simple! Now, each photo will take some time to find the perfect balance and you may have to erase some of the correction off of your surrounding greenery, but it is definitely a fixable situation to where you don't have to deliver Hulk-like images to your clients.
Take a look at a before and after below showing how I corrected my client's skin tone:
My client had gorgeous, freshly tanned skin but you definitely could NOT tell it in the first photo. For this fix, I took away the yellow by adding some magenta and I removed the green by adding cyan, I then erased some of the corrected tone away from the rest of the image so everything could balance out.
So there you have it! I truly hope this helps and if you ever need anything at all, you're always welcome to email me with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop your question below and I'll answer it during our next Tip Tuesday post!
Take care and happy Tuesday, friends!!