To enhance instant color, or not? It depends . . .
Bastian Kalous, sunday morning, SX-70 and TZ film, 2011
In one of the early pages, I uploaded the impressive work of Bastian Kalous of Germany and his lovely model Julia. The photo appears above. I wanted to show it as an example of a photo that is salvageable despite imperfections in the film itself. To be picky, there's more to it than that. It's a good pose, pretty face, nice expression, but it had what I considered pasty flesh tones. However, there was something more in the film that was just waiting to be enhanced. Just a tiny bit of tweaking saved the flesh tones. See below.
To be fair, this was a problem for many years with Polaroid SX-70 film.
To enhance this photo, these adjustments in color balance were made in Photoshop: Red +20; Magenta -18; Blue +14, and even then it wouldn't be good enough for reproduction. And that's almost ten years after the introduction of the SX-70 film and its camera models, the products of countless hours of work and experimentation by Polaroid's top scientists and hundreds of lab rats.
This is the reason why Polaroid SX-70 prints were rarely used for print production, except where they were essential for Polaroid's sale promotion needs. They were up against this:
The author, Kodacolor test of children, 1971
The same scan corrected in Photoshop Automatic Color. I've used Eastman Kodak's Kodacolor here but the color balance, particularly in the flesh tones illustrates how much more practical it was to use EK film products for four-color print processing in the past.
There are purists who refuse to manipulate their photo output and I have no quarrel with them except to say that if experimenting with darkroom chemicals, papers, dodging, burning, and exposure times to bring out the best in a print is permissible, then the same should apply to getting the most out of a scan.