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 not reflect ill upon you. It only makes you part of a very large community that really cares about the quality of its work and is always looking to improve.
Good color correction requires a minimum of a good eye and an understanding of basic tools, but sometimes cleverness is demanded. None of us ever stops improving our craft. Certainly not me. There’s one trick in this article that I only came up with in the last couple of years, solving a problem that had been vexing me for a lot longer than that.