Two Ways to Remove a Color Cast from a Photo with Photoshop

Some images contain color casts, which are simply imbalanced colors. You see color casts frequently in photographs that were taken indoors with artificial light; they tend to have a yellowish hue. Or photographs taken outdoors on cold days, which often have a blue hue. Color imbalance can also happen when you’re scanning photographs. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to fix in Photoshop, and here are two ways to get rid of the problem. Let start with the really easy method suitable for mild color casts.

Really Easy Color Cast Removal

1. Open up your image in Photoshop. This picture is from the wonderful Library of Congress Flickr Group, taken in 1882 and you can see it is sepia colored.

image

2. Choose Image > Adjustments > Auto Color and immediately you’ll see a dramatic difference.
Note: In Photoshop CS4 the command is Image > Auto Color.

image

And that’s with just one click.

Slightly More Steps But Still Easy Color Cast Removal

If you have an image that has a severe color cast, this method is a little more powerful than using the Auto Color adjustment.

1. Open a photo that has a strong color cast. This is a picture I took where the white balance was way off on the camera so it came out very blue.

image

2. Choose Image > Adjustments > Match Color

Match Color is usually used when you have two images and you want them to have a similar feel, so you can match the color of one with the other. In this case we only have one image so it’s still extra easy.

On the Match Color dialog box, simply click the Neutralize checkbox and voila!, the color cast will disappear.

image

And here’s how my picture looks. It was a particularly dark, gloomy Irish day but the intense blue cast is gone.

image

If you find that the Color Match takes too much color out of your photograph, drag the Fade slider to the right until some color comes back. To increase the intensity of the color, drag the Color Intensity slider to the right. When you’re happy with how it looks click OK.

Hope you find that useful either for your own digital photography or as a method to quickly correct client images with color casts.

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  • koyama

    Thanks for the tips. As a remark, most of the “color cast” in the first photo is not due to aging, but sepia-toning, popular during decades starting from 1880s.

    • http://www.laughingliondesign.net Jennifer Farley

      Thanks Koyama, I’ve changed that.

  • julie

    I remember finding out about the colour match thing years ago, and wanted to try it recently and couldn’t remember where the option was buried in CS4. A timely reminder – cheers!

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk/ Nicola Connolly

    Interesting tips, thanks. Haven’t really made use of the “Auto Colour” option before – looks like it could be useful as a quick fix option for mock-ups.

    • http://www.laughingliondesign.net Jennifer Farley

      Thanks Julie and Nicola, glad you found it useful.

  • rk89

    Hi Jennifer Farley, thanks for the tips for photoshop, that will help me to do editing. I like the way you described in the blog. IndusWebi

  • Manoj pawar

    Hi jennifer, thanq very much… I m engineering Student.. Today, i have practical of photoshop to remove color cast ..but i dont no how to remove color cast so i search it in google and i found ur blog and i follow and complete my practical…