Beware of the Oompa Loompa

Karl Barth

Posted November 04, 2013 in: Education  How To  Techniques 

In reading the title of this blog you are probably asking yourself what the heck are you talking about Karl?  Well I’ll explain it to you.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 13 wedding anniversary.  If you are fan of my page (, you’ll know that I’ve been doing a 365 day project.  Anyway for my picture of the day, I wanted to take a picture of my wife and I under this tree that had some beautiful fall colors.  I setup my camera on a tripod and had my daughter take the picture with a wireless remote.  The picture looked great.

During post processing though, I edited the photo using Nik Color Efex Pro with minor adjustments from Lightroom.  I use Color Efex Pro for a majority of my photos.  When I posted the image on Facebook though, my wife’s face looked like a Oompa Loompa from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Her face was too orange.

Although it was a great shot and a lot of people loved it I was still bothered by the result.  I didn’t like the skin tone on my wife.  I decided to edit the original image using only Lightroom.  The results were much better.  My wife’s face wasn’t too orange.

So what happened?  Well first my white balance was set to cloudy.  Why?  It gives a sense of warmth to the image especially when doing portraits.  The skin tone won’t be so ghostly.  It doesn’t matter whether it is sunny or cloudy, the cloudy white balance will work.  

Secondly, during post processing with Color Efex I added a brilliant/warm filter completely forgetting that I had my white balance set to cloudy.  Plus I added a strong contrast filter.  As a result that created the Oompa Loompa look.

By Karl Barth

While I love Nik Color Efex the lesson I learned from this little gaffe is that it is not always necessary to use it for post processing.  Plus I should only use it for nature or landscape photography. That’s the thing I love and hate about photography.  You learn from your mistakes but you can also miss those golden moments. Oh well…lesson learned.  Thanks for reading. 

About Karl Barth - Karl is a husband and father of two kids. He loves photography and shooting whenever he can. He runs Karl Barth Photography. His site is


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