Improve Print Tones through Better Curves Layers

These Advanced Photoshop Techniques Can Fix Poor Exposures
written by: Ctein

All experienced printers know the First Rule of Good Tonality: a good print, whether black-and-white or color, almost always has a range of tones that run from near-to- white to near-to-black. This is true even of high-key and low-key photographs. This dictum holds so often that the exceptions to the rule are, well, exceptional. By itself, though, this isn’t enough to ensure great-looking prints. Most fine prints require some degree of local control of tones. This article talks about making such improvements in the context of fixing old photographs, but the methods apply just as well to new ones. Many photographs Read more »


Getting Better Skin Tones

PHOTO Techniques, Sept/Oct 2007
written by: Ctein

Getting people to look good in a photograph takes care. You can take a lot of artistic liberties with a tree; a face is another matter. Human eyes and brains are very sensitive to the appearance of skin tones, colors, and textures. In my work, I use a number of techniques and tricks that produce realistic-looking flesh tones.These methods don’t entirely replace the need for pixel-by-pixel hand-retouching, but they drastically minimize it. The masked layer approach I just finished a book on photo restoration, so I’ve used photos in need of restoration as examples here. However, I use the same Read more »


Color Correction Made Easier

written by: Ctein

I originally planned to give this article the admittedly glib title, “Color Correction Made Easy.” Upon modest reflection, I realized that title would be extremely misleading. Color correction isn’t easy. It’s never going to be easy. Let’s face it, if good color correction (and, correspondingly, good tone correction) were easy, everyone would be a great photographic printer. There would be no need for custom labs, professional printers, and the myriad craftspeople out there whose business is converting decent photographs into more-than-decent prints. What I’m trying to say is that if you find color correction an occasionally frustrating business, that does Read more »