Skintones – don’t be hasty

I’d like to take this opportunity to ask your advice about a few things, if I may …

  • My son is seven months old, and crawling a little. Do you think he’s ready for me to take him to the park and teach him to fly a kite?
  • My daughter is two and a half, and learning the alphabet. She knows most letters by sight, and knows some of their sounds. Is this an appropriate time for us to introduce her to the works of Shakespeare?
  • Our bathroom is quite old and daggy (circa 1970s) and we hope to renovate it in the next few years. Would now be a good time to install some gold-plated fixtures?

The answer to all three questions is clearly "No".

Ok, what about this question …

  • I have a photo that’s a little bit underexposed, and I haven’t fixed the white balance. Should I go ahead and try to fix the skintones right away?

Too many people, it seems, would answer "Yes, go ahead" to that question.

So often I see people agonising over skintones, when it is crystal clear that the photos have overall exposure and white balance issues.

Please, pleeeeeaase slow down and evaluate your photo. Good white balance and good exposure will take you most of the way to good skintones. Look after the big things, and the little things will look after themselves.

If you dive right in there and start trying to fix skintones, without fixing the whole photo first, you’ll drive yourself insane.


If you have a question about this article, please feel free to post it in Ask Damien.