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

By Jennifer Farley



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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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you’ll love Learnable; the place to learn fresh skills and techniques from the masters. Members get instant access to all of SitePoint’s ebooks and interactive online courses, like Foundations of Photoshop.

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Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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