I believe that almost every photographer has been confronted by a photograph of one or more people, shot either under unknown lighting conditions or mixed lighting. Meaning that either a white-balance card (or other device) was not used, or that the lighting might be a combination of two or more of the following: daylight, flash, fluorescent, or incandescent light. The camera is usually set to Auto White Balance and the final result is an image that is not properly color balanced.
I have a quick method for dealing with this situation. Everything that follows also applies to film shooters, where again, the image is highly likely not to be properly color balanced (I’m assuming that if shot on film, the image is subsequently scanned and edited digitally.)
Over the years, I have observed and spoken to a number of photographers on this topic. Either using Photoshop or another editing program or a Raw converter, most of them do an adjustment to the color temperature, followed by adjustments in tint, color, and curves until things “look good.” Somehow, I always felt that this ad hoc method was inefficient, inaccurate, or not particularly appealing.
Therefore, I decided to find out what expert retouchers do to see if there might be a better and more effective way to address this issue. As anticipated, there are a number of interesting and more effective ways to achieve beautiful skin tones, and they usually correct the tones in the rest of the image at the same time. I describe below a personal variation on a particularly effective methodology.