Quick Tip—Remove a color cast in Photoshop

Bad color casts like this can usually be quickly cleaned up with this tip. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Bad color casts like this can usually be quickly cleaned up with this tip. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Here’s a great, quick way to clean up a bad color cast in Photoshop. Maybe you had a mixed-light situation. Or maybe you simply had your camera set for the wrong color temperature, (say, still having your camera set on fluorescent lighting but shooting in tungsten lighting). Regardless, here’s the first thing I always try when a photo has a really bad color cast. It cleans up most problems quickly.

Step 1.  Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels (Control-L in Windows,  Cmd-L on a  Mac).

Step 2. Select the Red Channel from the Channels pull-down menu.

The Channels pull-down menu inside of Levels is the key to this tip.

The Channels pull-down menu inside of Levels is the key to this tip.

Step 3. Move the shadow and highlight points to the edges of the histogram “mountain.”

You want your shadow and highight points to just touch the edge of the historgram "mountain."

You want your shadow and highight points to just touch the edge of the historgram "mountain."

Step 4. Repeat for the Green and Blue channels.

The color will look crazy as your work. Don't worry. It will all clean up in the end.

The color will look crazy as you work. Don't worry. It will clean up in the end.

Voila!  Your color cast is magically cleaned up!

The final result: color cast is removed and the resulting image looks accurate.

The final result: color cast is removed and the resulting image looks accurate.(Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Try this on a few different photos with color cast problems. Photoshop is like jazz, there are lots of ways to do most things and they can all get you where you want to go. Experiment!  

Did this Quick Tip  work for the images you had?  Or do you have a different favorite cleanup technique? Please let me know if this worked and you’d like more Photoshop Quick Tips! DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Photoshop

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

6 Comments on "Quick Tip—Remove a color cast in Photoshop"

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  1. Pam says:

    OMG why havent I found out about this earlier! It’s so easy!! THANK YOU for publishing the photoshop tricks!!

  2. Yes Pam, this is one of my favorite ones. It’s so easy and does such a great job of cleaning up most color casts.

  3. John Gleeson says:

    Excellent thanks for a really great tip

  4. What an amazingly simple and effective solution!!
    Thanks very much for sharing your wisdom.

  5. Rich says:

    Its great to have these kind article giving tips and trick about certain software application. Fantastic idea now i know to adjust a certain pictures.Thanks for sharing this magnificent tips of yours.

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