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My most difficult shot, ever

Antonio Correia

Well-known member
And why was this the most difficult shot I have ever done ?
No, not because of the light conditions but instead when the result came out of the printer.
When you show or print an image of a landscape the colours may not be correct, imperfect... but when it comes to portraits the "think" is far more difficult even having all those basic parameters solved like calibrated monitor, printer profiled to the paper and so on.
I have printed 6 copies and still I don't like the final result ! Shame on me !
The light was really, really terrible and I should have used the grey card which I was carrying in the bag but did I remember such thing ? No ! :mad:


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

You are too hard on yourself. Most would give your picture a blessing! Its

But for exhibition we need to present for posterity!

Yes, I too sometimes embarrass myself by omitting a grey card. Actually we should use a Gretag Macbeth card with a full spectrum of hues in the color array to adjust the DNG file sourced via Adobe DNG app.

I am getting more comfortable these days with adjusting by eye or I must admit to you, plain “cheating”, by going to “Capture One”:skin tones or or “Portrait Professional” (with all the facial structure modifications disabled).

But for me, I always ALSO make separate layers to chose parts of photograph for final composition, each adjusted by the white balance picker use natural markers too:
  • Grey of sweater
  • Pens & white card in his pocket
  • Black of microscope
  • Anything else white, black, neutral
  • White of eyes
  • Pupils

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief


As Downloaded


Card in Pocket


Grey fixture upper right wall


His left eye


White Coat
Now, I could have all these on layers and chose how I like the color of each picture component in each version and selectively mask accordingly. However seeing the version using the grey wall fixture behind him, I would just use that in this case!

Usually I would need only a few variants.

In a party with one woman with pale skin, a man with a red drunkard’s or “Rosacia” nose and varied colored lights, color correction can be a seven hour job for me!

That's why I like to overwhelm weird variant light in a party or event, by a strobe light, (held by an assistant), plus a ring light!

Here, (in ignorance), I prefer the version using the grey fixture on the upper right wall. The latter appears pleasant, his white coat is perfect and his face well lit and natural....but I wasn’t there!

Only in that picture does the doctor dominate the room! I love it!


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
You are so right in being annoyed by the result. I never realized it was off until I took the time to seriously check. That really serves to remind us to be humbled and self critical as once one has sold a print, that child is gone from us for ever!

You taught me a good lesson with your self doubt!


Antonio Correia

Well-known member
Perhaps the one which is nearer the reality is the one you got the WB from his coat. Nice work Asher ! So much for something unimportant. Thanks ! :)

Asher I learned a lesson here: my Color Checker Passport is now on the bag.
I have tried several times do work on the RAW files, even starting from scratch always with poor results. Perhaps (most probably) I am not doing the job correctly.

Anyway I started the WB at the base of the lamp behind him on our right. No, didn't work !

Always bad results. :cry:
I do have printed a last one but... no, not good ! :cry:

Never mind. More opportunities will arise ! ;)

Cheers ! :)

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
Quite an assortment of possibilities but in my opinion the last is the most pleasing. Funny, with my optometrist you could never get a good photo like any of these because he keeps his office quite dark.

Antonio Correia

Well-known member
Peter, in there the light is very dim indeed.
I would even say that the light in there is horrible !
However, he switched off and on when it was necessary
Thank you for commenting ! :)

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

We all face this challenge. At first, Auto WB or just removing color casts was my best approach.

After I moved to a dim lit room, dark shirt, calibrated monitor, it took years before I could adjust color by eye!

Worse, when the host at a party has a mixture of different color temp lights and elderly folk have odd skin effects of the weathering of life!

That’s why a ring flash and a light in the hand of a helper is such a boon at such times!

Yes, and that card or wallet!


Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Antonio, I found this very useful video that may help you come to a good skin tone. It is using Affinity Photo, but probably similar features in other image editing software.