HOW TO: Editing washed out purple

HOW TO: Editing washed out purple

March 9th 2018.

Tuesday, after photographing Waterparks, I shared a before and after (which is above) of Awsten on Twitter and it gained a lot of attention. Mostly, what I found, was people messaging interested in finding out how to edit with this particular lighting situation. Here are some tips on dealing with the washed out purple that I managed to edit through from this show.

The lighting at this show was constantly changing, making it a real challenge to shoot in. While photos before this were perfectly fine, the next few I took - including this one - were in a very washed out purple. The settings above were the ones used for this particular shot - shooting in raw is always your best bet, especially for low lighting situations. You can do so much with the image post-shoot, it allows you to retain the quality of the image and easily change the colour grading of it also.

SIGMA 18-35MM AT 24MM • F/1.8 • 1/250 • ISO 2500 • SHOT IN RAW

All editing I do is through Adobe Lightroom, their software is super easy to understand and get the hang of and really, this is all about trial and error. I've never used a tutorial from online, I simply work with the sliders until I'm happy with the result. While all the settings to follow worked for this image, they may not necessarily work for every image - as each one has a different level of purple or blue washing out the image I had to tweak certain things to get a similar end effect in other images. So if you are trying this on your own images, be aware that it may look different to my end result, this is just to help you get rid of some of that purple and the rest is up to you!

The first sliders to contend with are at the very top of the right panel. These are labelled Temperature and Tint. When there's a lot of purple, I tend to pull the Tint slider away from the magenta and into the green. This will cut out a lot of the purple that's in there. 

Following this are your exposure, contrast, highlights and clarity sliders. You can play around with these until you're happy with what you see. Same with Tone Curve - I highly recommend using this but I would wait until the end of all the colour
grading. Next I dipped into the Camera Calibration section, this is right down at the bottom of the page. This will edit through RGB primaries and I worked with this a while until features were more refined rather than washed out.

As I said, you may need to fiddle with this a lot until you get a result you're happier with. However, below is what my image looked like following playing with the exposure/contrast sliders and camera calibration. You could keep it like that, as it is a lot better than it was when it began, but for me there's still too much blue that I'd like to tone down.

Next up were the HSL sliders which, on any given day are my best friend or my worst enemy. There are three sections: hue, saturation and luminance. I typically start with the first and work my way to luminance, then after go back in if I feel the need to. I focused a lot on the purple slider, which helped to pull the blue out. In the hue section, I pulled it away from the blue at the left and more toward magenta and toned this down by pulling down the saturation slider.

Again you can leave this as is, it's exponentially better already and all the details have been preserved - Lightroom is really all about playing around until you can find something that suits to your personal tastes. I took an extra step in playing around with Split Toning, this allows you to add colour to the highlights and shadows to change the overall look and feel of the image. I went with two darker yellow hues for both the highlight and the shadows, this helped to pull out the rest of the blue that I didn't want in the image and made for a slightly more colourful image.

If you click the small box that contains the colour it opens up a colour dropper tool which you can move over all of the hues until you find something that suits you. As a final step, I went back up to the temperature slider and dropped that down a little bit, then fixed the exposure slightly and of course, worked with the tone curve section until I was happy with my final result. At the end of all sections I ended up with this:

I was able to keep the purple in certain sections (like Awstens hair) and gave him a more natural skin tone as opposed to the bright purple I started with. I find that the green of the lights behind him makes him stand out against it and the red gives a pop of colour to draw the eye.

If you have followed this tutorial and have managed to make it work for you, I would love to see it. You can tag me in any posts via Twitter or Instagram both @khmltnphoto so I can find it. Please let me know also if you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to follow as I may end up making more in the future if you did and, lastly, thank you for checking this out!