Tip Share :: Removing a Color Cast on a Photo

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a Tip Share. Here’s something that I use every time I edit photos.

My camera, for reasons passing understanding, doesn’t allow me to adjust the white balance for my photos. It only has “auto” functions, none of which are available when I’m shooting in the close-up macro setting (which is every time I take photos). Trust me, I’ve looked numerous times – it just doesn’t let me do it.

So, when I take my photos, I almost always have a color cast over each one that I have to remove. The best way I’ve found is to use Photoshop Elements to do it.

Step 1: Open Photoshop Elements, and then open your photo file. See the ugly yellow color cast? That’s what we’re going to fix.

Step 2: Make any brightening adjustments you need to by going to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels.

On the Levels banner that appears, there are three little toggles that sit under the graph (see where the pink arrows are pointing). Each toggle represent different parts of your photo – black for shadows, gray for midtones, and white for highlights. Slide the toggles back and forth till you’re satisfied (make sure the Preview box is checked so you can see what each toggle does), then click OK.

Step 3: Now, let’s take care of the color cast. Go to Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color Cast.

Use the eyedropper tool that appears to click on your photo. The Color Cast box suggests clicking on a part of your photo that is either white, black, or gray, but I’ll be honest with you – I hardly ever get great results from white or black. Gray works best for me.

After a final tweaking to brighten it up just a little more, and some cropping, I save my photo, and viola! Here’s the final result:

What if you don’t currently own Photoshop Elements? Picnik.com has a similar tool (and it’s free). Go to Picnik.com, then upload your photo. Choose the Colors option from the menu bar.

(Click to view larger)

Then, choose the Neutral Picker for the eye drop tool to appear, and click on different parts of your photo. You can also try the Auto Colors option – it color corrects your photo for you, and seems to be pretty close to reality.

Hope this helps! Happy editing!

8 Responses to Tip Share :: Removing a Color Cast on a Photo

  1. Can you become my personal photoshop tutor? I just can't seem to get comfortable using it.

    Great how to guide!

  2. wow, i wouldn't have even known these photos needed to be altered until i saw the afters. gorgeous! you can be sure i will be using this when i need to.

  3. Kristy – heheh, maybe I'll write a little book or something to help you out. 🙂

    Wendy – I know, right? My main goal is to make everything as true to life as possible on my computer screen. If I can get it to look the way it's suppose to, I'm happy (and I hope it looks better than it would on other computer screens).

  4. This is a great tip. One of these days I am going to get Photoshop Elements. Right now I'm just using Microsoft Picture Manager, and I definitely need something better.

  5. Christina – when you're ready to buy, check out ebay. I got my copy there. I was nervous at first, but a few of my friends had shopped with a particular seller and had good things to say. It was an official copy with a disc, so I've been happy with it so far.

    Galadryl – You're so welcome!