I assume this would be a common question for product photography, but I've spent multiple days searching various sites for a solution to automate this simple task, but found nothing.

Lets say there are 200 photos taken in controlled lighting with the identical camera settings (exposure, white balance etc. all manually set), but there is a barely evident color cast and exposure difference.

I have been correcting this manually so far. Using eyedropper to average an area from the white background, using levels or curves to get the RGB numbers to 230 (relative 90% white).

To output 255 at 247 for example. Almost all the photos have min difference in average level +/-3 values. So in order to get a perfect print each of the images have to be opened separately and the settings dialled in depending on the conditions.

I'm thinking that there has to be a way to automate this, since the white area is always in the same place for the photos and the process is very routine.

I've tried the Match Total Exposure in Lightroom, but that only sets an amount based on camera settings. Nothing changes, if the settings were the same on all the images.

I tried setting a certain exposure on 1 photo and syncing it to all the rest. That just copy-pastes the +0.5 value to all the photos, so some are still brighter than others.

Then I moved to photoshop and tested the "Auto Color corrections". Either monochromatic or dark&light. There does not seem to be a predictable way for it to function. On some images it does go from 225 to 230 and then on the next it goes from 226 to 218. I guess the second photo might have tiny highlights that force the background average to darken?

Then I was hoping to run a bulk action that asks for the user to just input the white level using the eyedropper for each photo, but can't wrap my head around even that. I guess I'm burnt out at this point and will just manually do this.

If anyone has the patience to read this and help out I would be thankful.

  • 1
    Do you think you could add a dumb-down resumé of what you actually need to do (in Photoshop) step by step? Like 1. Get brightness from this specific area 2. Apply levels with brightness - 230, 3. Etc. What you're describing seems like something doable but it's difficult to recommend anything when the description is so broad. Automatisation is about concrete steps. – Sergey Kritskiy Feb 3 at 7:54
  • Problems like this are usually best solved during the photo shoot, i.e. using manual exposure settings, and consistent studio lighting, as you've already mentioned. I'm not sure why you ended up with slightly different exposures and colour casts, unless you have problems with the ambient lighting or perhaps reflection of light from the subject. Have you tried using a light tent or methods of excluding the ambient light such as black-out blinds? For colour casts caused by reflections you can also try a diffuser, or move backdrops further from the subject, etc, etc. – Billy Kerr Feb 3 at 12:37
  • Thank you for replying. I'll try to explain the process in steps. 1. Add adjustment layer - Levels 2. Use highlights eyedropper in Levels to set up to 4 color sampler points. 3. Adjust input levels value to match new sampler values to 230. (90% white) – mku Feb 3 at 12:47
  • To clarify the shooting process - There is no ambient light in the studio. The ceiling and walls are white and far away enough to not cause a color cast (if they would affect the outcome it would be consistent and should also have been eliminated by manual white balance metering done in the studio). Black-out blinds, I assume would be for windows? There are no windows in the studio. Only thing that would make sense is the reflections from the object itself. Backdrop is arctic white flat 1,5m width paper sheet. Objects are small (no larger than 10cm diameter). There is nowhere to reflect. – mku Feb 3 at 13:01
  • Was thinking that my own clothing and where I stand in the room might cause a color cast or reflection. So next time will go all black and stand in the same place. But still, the photos taken have to be adjusted. – mku Feb 3 at 13:11

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