beauty dish

post-processing workflow: how to deal with color banding / posterization

If you’ve ever noticed banding or  posterization in your photos, where you’d expect solid colors, then there’s a relatively easy fix for it. This posterization effect appears as bands of colors, where the transitions between similar tones aren’t smooth, but have jagged edges instead.

It is caused by the 8-bit JPG not having enough data to give you a smooth gradient when large blocks of color slowly change. You’ll often see it in the blue sky in landscapes, or as in this case, with large areas of color in the background. Actually, the image above doesn’t show this – I fixed it. Here’s how.

Learn more inside…


My daughter, Janine.  She turned 16 in September, and I have so very few recent images of her.  None of which are of professional quality.  So I cajoled her into this, since we’re snowed in this afternoon ..  and she loved the results. “Facebook profile photo FTW!”

portrait session, using a beauty dish

The image is straight out of camera, aside from healing brush on a few skin blemishes.  This is how I had set up my B&W images to look in my Nikon D3 bodies.  I still shoot RAW though, so could always go back to the color image.  But I like these rich-toned B&W images.

A little more about the lighting:
The main light was  with the Profoto beauty dish (B&H), using the Profoto AcuteB 600R power pack (B&H). I used a diffuser sock (B&H) over the beauty dish.  The light on the grey backdrop is a Quantum flash, with the usual Q-flash diffuser disc over it .. pointed directly at the backdrop.

The sock over the beauty dish really helps me. It brings in more light into the shadow areas in how it disperses the light differently from the open beauty dish.  I’ve read elsewhere that with a sock over the beauty dish you’re essentially no better off than using a softbox of the same size … but I still prefer the look of the ‘socked’ beauty dish over the ‘unsocked’ beauty dish.

1/200 @ f10 @ 200 ISO
Nikon D3;
Nikon 105mm f2.8 AF-S VR (B&H)