Portrait Photography Tutorial: This One Tool Gets You Perfect Skin Tones

How do you get perfect skin tones when working with tough white balances?

Fact: most photographers shoot in auto-white balance and deal with the problems of skin tones and color later on. But, it can be pretty tricky at times, so today, we’re showing how to get better skin tones and master perfect white balance at the same time. The result will be great colors in every portrait you shoot. No matter what lighting situation you’re in, you’ll find that you can use this trick to get the most pop in your photos every single time. Now, this Portrait Photography Tutorial can apply across a broad range of photo editing software, but we’re doing it in Capture One 20. It’s no secret that Capture One 20 does the best job when editing RAW files. So, let’s dive in.

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The situation we’re presenting is a pretty tough one. We were shooting with daylight balanced lights against an orange-ish background. One would think that this is no problem, but it’s actually a pretty big one. When your camera analyzes the scene, it often doesn’t know what to do with the colors. So, of course, you’re going to fix this in post-production instead of dialing in the Kelvin levels in-camera. One of the best things you can do is use a tool in Capture One 20 called Apply Normalization. Then, you move it over the skin tone, click, and it will quickly fix the scene. It’s a beautiful time saver. After this, you edit as normal. The full Portrait Photography Tutorial is down below in a video that’s under seven minutes.

  • Add your lens corrections
  • Choose a profile
  • Color channel editing
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • Black levels
  • White Levels
  • Clarity
  • Sharpness
  • Highlights
  • Shadows

It’s pretty simple and straightforward. This is also a heck of a lot easier than fiddling with the white balance manually. We hope you enjoyed this Portrait Photography Tutorial and got something out of it.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.