Ahhh, the elusive Creamy Skin that we all want in our images!! As I’m sure you’ve read a million times around the web, a correct white balance is crucial to getting creamy skintones in Photoshop. Ideally you will get the correct white balance straight out of your camera, but I can attest to Auto White Balance not always guessing correctly – especially indoors in these cold months (here anyways!). One day I’m going to start using my gray card again and setting my white balance, but I digress. sigh
If you shoot RAW, you can adjust White Balance in ACR or Lightroom, which I do. Sometimes after I bring my photo in Photoshop, though, the skin still doesn’t look ‘creamy’ or warm enough, so I usually warm up the photo with levels or curves. But sometimes by the time I get the skin warmed up to where I want it, the rest of the image is too warm. Even if I painted in the ‘warmth,’ things like eyebrows and shadows on the face can have too much of an orange tint.
I think this problem isn’t really a problem of correct white balance, it’s more of a problem of photographing pale skin!! We want skin to look creamy in our photos when, in reality, it may be extremely pale or even translucent in real life.
Enter my newly discovered trick for getting creamy skin in Photoshop! Using a Color Balance layer, select just the highlights and add Red (which takes away Cyan) and Yellow (which takes away Blue). See my post on Color Opposites for more in-depth info on this. It’s a very simple but effective way to warm up the bright areas (like skin) in your photo while leaving the color in the midtones and shadows relatively unchanged.
Each image will be different in the amounts of red and yellow that you add, so just play around with the sliders. Here is the Before in this example:
I simply added a Color Balance adjustment layer…
… and for this image I made the following adjustments. Remember to select the Highlights:
Here is the After (rollover in your computer’s browser to see the Before comparison):
Here’s another example (rollover for Before/After):
What do you think? Am I the only one that has this problem and had to find a fix??!! Entirely possible. :) Thank you for stopping by!