This works best if you’re trying to match two fairly similar skin tones.

Curves has a function that lets you set the grey point – it’s the middle eyedropper icon in the curves bit. Select it, and then whatever you click on in the scene becomes grey by virtue of having it adjust the red, green and blue curves of the whole image for you. It’s obviously meant to be used ON grey things to colour correct an image, but anyway…

So create a Curves layer and set the grey point on a clear area of skin (a mid-tone) of the image which has the skin tone you want to copy. Save that as a curves preset (‘destination’).

Now take it off. Set the grey point in the same way on the Source image (the image which has the skin tone you want to change).

Add an Invert adjustment layer above it.

Add a Curves layer and load the ‘destination’ preset.

Add another Invert layer.

photoshop thing

It doesn’t always work perfectly, but what it’s done is take your image’s skin mid-tone to grey; then apply the opposite of what has to happen to take the destination image to grey, i.e. an imprint of its own colour make-up, (and that’s done by inverting the image and applying the curve to it when the light’s dark and the dark’s light).

Does that make sense to anyone?

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