Skin Tones in Portraits: Canon vs Sony and How to Correct

Have you ever noticed that skin tones in your portraits vary slightly depending on the camera you use? From Canon to Sony, each brand may produce its own unique interpretation of skin tones, leaving photographers wondering which one is more accurate. But fear not, as in this blog, we delve into the comparison between Canon and Sony cameras and explore how to correct skin tones for that perfect portrait. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur enthusiast, understanding the nuances of skin tone reproduction and the methods to correct any inconsistencies can greatly enhance your photography skills and ensure flawless portraits every time. Let’s dive in and discover the secrets behind achieving accurate and stunning skin tones in your portraits.

Skin Tones in Portraits: Canon vs Sony and How to Correct


A couple of months back, I made a video about switching from Canon and Fuji to Sony for portrait photography. However, many people in the comments were skeptical about Sony’s skin tones, claiming that they were inferior to Canon’s. To address this, I decided to conduct a comparison test between a Canon 5D Mark III and my Sony a7 III with the help of my friend Vioxx, a talented portrait photographer.

The Setup

We used the same lens, lighting, and background for both cameras to ensure consistency. I adapted the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens to my Sony using an MC-11 adapter from Sigma. The settings were set to ISO 100, 1/250th of a second shutter speed, and f/2.8 aperture. The only variable was the sensor on the back of the cameras.

The Comparison: Canon vs sony color

After capturing the images, I imported them into Capture One and selected the white balance using a gray card. I then brought them into Photoshop for further analysis. Straight away, it was evident that there was a significant difference in skin tones between the Canon and Sony shots.

Canon Skin Tones

The Canon images exhibited a warmer tone, skewing towards yellow. Surprisingly, there was also a slight yellow color cast throughout the entire image, even in the shadows. Some observers may even notice hints of green. Additionally, the Canon had a smoother roll-off, which provided a more forgiving appearance to the skin.

Sony Skin Tones

On the other hand, the Sony images displayed cooler tones, bordering on cyan in certain highlights. There was also a stronger presence of magenta in the skin tones. Notably, the Sony captured more skin detail compared to the Canon, which could be advantageous for certain shooting styles.

Impact on Different Skin Types

To assess the impact on different skin types, we shot with individuals of various ethnicities. The Canon continued to showcase a yellow shift and a warm, glowing skin tone, while the Sony maintained a cooler tone with pinkish-magenta shifts. This comparison highlighted how the cameras’ rendering of skin tones can vary, and how personal preference plays a role in choosing the right camera.

How to correct skin tone in lightroom

Sometimes, portraits may require adjustments to achieve a more natural or desired skin tone. While there are complex technical methods available, I will focus on simpler techniques for this discussion.

1. Color Correction

To correct skin tones, start by adjusting the overall color balance. This can be done using color correction tools in editing software or by manually selecting and adjusting specific color ranges.

2. Tone Adjustment

Consider making adjustments to the tone of the image, such as increasing or decreasing contrast, highlights, shadows, or midtones. These adjustments can help achieve the desired skin tone and overall look.

3. Selective Retouching

For more targeted corrections, use selective retouching techniques to address specific areas or blemishes. This can involve using tools like the healing brush or clone stamp to remove imperfections while maintaining the integrity of the skin texture.

4. Collaborate with Your Subject

Lastly, communicate with your subject and involve them in the editing process. Their input and preferences can greatly enhance the final result and ensure satisfaction.


In conclusion, there is a noticeable difference in skin tones between Canon and Sony cameras. Canon tends to produce warm, yellow-toned images with a smoother roll-off, while Sony captures cooler, magenta-toned images with more skin detail. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preference and shooting style. When correcting skin tones, it is essential to employ color correction, tone adjustments, selective retouching, and collaboration with the subject to achieve the desired outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions: Skin Tones in Portraits – Canon vs Sony

  1. Q: Why is there a difference in skin tones when using Canon and Sony cameras?

    A: Canon and Sony use different image processing algorithms, which can result in variations in how skin tones are captured and reproduced.

  2. Q: How can I fix lightroom correct skin tones in portraits taken with Canon or Sony cameras?

    A: Follow these steps:

    1. Import your photos into a photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
    2. Adjust the white balance to ensure accurate colors. Use a reference target or a known neutral tone to achieve a proper setting.
    3. Make further tweaks to hue, saturation, and luminance of specific colors like red and yellow to fine-tune the skin tones.
    4. Consider using color grading tools or presets to enhance the overall look and feel of the image while preserving natural skin tones.
  3. Q: Are there any specific settings to adjust on Canon or Sony cameras for better skin tones?

    A: While the camera settings may vary depending on the model, consider these tips:

    • Shoot in RAW format to capture as much information as possible, providing greater flexibility during post-processing.
    • Experiment with different Picture Styles (Canon) or Creative Styles (Sony) to find presets that better suit your desired skin tones.
    • Take advantage of custom white balance settings to ensure accurate colors under specific lighting conditions.
  4. Q: Can skin tones be corrected equally well on both Canon and Sony cameras?

    A: Yes, with proper post-processing techniques, skin tones can be corrected effectively on both Canon and Sony cameras. However, due to differences in image sensors and processing algorithms, it may require slightly different approaches.

  5. Q: Are there any additional resources to learn more about correcting skin tones in portraits?

    A: Yes, you can find numerous tutorials, online courses, and forums dedicated to portrait photography and post-processing techniques specific to Canon and Sony cameras. Exploring these resources can provide valuable insights and guidance.

I hope you find useful my article Skin Tones in Portraits: Canon vs Sony and How to Correct, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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