How I Saved It: Part 2

In part one of this explanation I discussed how I used my own preset along with exposure, temp/tint and split toning adjustments to take an image that was entirely blue and start bringing back some of the color. When we left off in part one, I had just shown you what the photo looked like after making split toning adjustments. For reference, here's that image again after making split toning adjustments. If you haven't read part one yet, please click here to see how I arrived at this point:

DSC_6663-7.JPG

So this is where I was at the end of part one, and I mentioned that it was starting to look like I was onto something with this image and this is really where I knew was going to be able to save it and have a usable photo. What I never expected was to have what may be my favorite photo ever. From here things got a little more complicated. I had something that resembled a skin tone and the blue part of her hair was starting to look normal, but the bright, ugly yellowish-orange of her skin needed to be corrected. At this point it became more trial and error and I ended up adjusting or zeroing most of my HSL slider values. For reference, here's a screenshot of where my HSL values are for the photo above:

Arch Enemy02.JPG

And here they are after making adjustments:

Arch Enemy04.JPG

All this really did was adjust the saturation and color of the strobes slightly, so nothing major and nothing worth showing another photo of. From here, my next step was to adjust my temperature and tint sliders to try and find a balance that looked a little more natural. My goal was to get rid of the nasty yellowish-orange skin tone you see above. What I did to achieve this is reset my light tones value to zero under the TONE CURVE tab, while adjusting my temp slider to 7179 by pulling it to the left (towards blue) and taking my tint slider back to -150 (all the way to the left, to green). This is where I am now:

DSC_6663-13.JPG

That's starting to look like a little closer to a skin tone, but I still don't like the washed out look in her face and I definitely don't like those dark purple, almost black lips from pulling all the saturation out of her very red lipstick. At this point I needed to get her skin tone back to a natural tone and, after trying and failing to make minor adjustments to the red and orange sliders under the HSL tab, I went back to the SPLIT TONING tab and made mostly minor tweaks. For reference, here's the same screenshot of my SPLIT TONING values that I showed you in part one:

If you can't see that, my  highlights  values are 0 for  hue  and 62 for  saturation . My  shadows  values are 360 for  hue  and 77 for  saturation . My balance is set to  +5.

If you can't see that, my highlights values are 0 for hue and 62 for saturation. My shadows values are 360 for hue and 77 for saturation. My balance is set to +5.

And here's where my SPLIT TONING values are now:

Arch Enemy05.JPG

All I did was change my highlights saturation to 54, my shadows saturation to 78 and my balance to -100. After making these changes, I also adjusted my temperature slider from +7176 towards yellow and ending at +8600 to balance skin tones and even out her hair. This is the resulting image:

DSC_6663-15.JPG

At this point it's pretty much a finished image. The only things I still need to fix are her lips and her eyes, and I used two separate adjustment brushes to work on each locally. The screenshots below show the values for each brush. The top shows the values for the brush used on her lips, the bottom shows the values for the brush used on her eyes:

And that's how we arrived at this:

DSC_6663-2.JPG

And that's it. We're done. That's how I went from an image that looked like it was unusable to an image I'll be printing for myself in the near future. Achieving this requires a few things: an understanding of Lightroom and how each slider works, a lot of trial and error and a lot of patience, but it's obviously very doable. Here's a side-by-side of where we started and where we ended:

That's a drastic difference and is another example of why you should shoot RAW if you don't already. I'd never have been able to do this if I had shot in JPEG. I've also been able to achieve similar results on other photos from the same set, as well as photos from other sets, using this process (which I've created a preset from) and you can see side-by-sides of a selection of those below. All of the photos below use the process above as a base (using my preset) and all have minor adjustments to either split toning, temp & tint or both.

So that's it. Obviously the biggest success was the Arch Enemy photo that prompted this walkthrough, but I'm confident enough in this preset being at the very least a place to start that I expect I'll be using it quite a bit, and I'm no longer going to dismiss blue lighting as unusable.