How to Remove Color Casts in Photoshop 2022
Lighting has always played a major role in real estate photography. In fact, it goes far beyond the concept of how bright or dark an image turns out as lighting can even have an impact on the photo’s color.
Imagine getting your angle and subject just right only to find an unnatural hue reflecting off of important surfaces. In some instances, it can be quite challenging to remedy this when the subject has complex colors or details to it.
However, it can be fairly common especially for budding photographers who are not as well experienced when it comes to color casts.
Below, we give you a low down as to what color cast really is, what causes it, and how you can fix it in post-production using the classic Adobe Photoshop software and the photographer-favorite Adobe Lightroom.
What Exactly Is Color Cast?
A color cast is a tint that affects your photograph, either in certain areas only or as a whole. These are rarely considered happy accidents as it can make the image look unnatural and not translate the vibe you want your image to portray.
One way to determine if your image has color cast on it is by identifying a neutrally colored object within your frame, such as a white wall or ceiling, and checking if it came out white in your output as well.
What Causes Color Cast?
There can be many factors that cause color cast in your image, such as:
The Hue Of Your Light Source.
The most common cause of color cast is a colored light source of your image having its own specific hue, which is common in fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs that emit green tint and blue color cast, respectively.
Incorrect White Balance.
Setting your camera’s white balance manually can sometimes result to an incorrect processing. To get neutral and realistic tones, ensure that you get your white balance presets right before starting your photo shoot.
Light That Bounced Off Colored Surfaces.
Objects with bright hues become a reflected light source onto another surface, and ends up casting its color onto the latter.
How Do You Fix Color Cast?
Sometimes, even when you get the camera settings right, you can still encounter colors casts in your images – especially when you are shooting outdoors. As long as your image is not too complex, there are many tools that most leading photo editing software offer in order to correct color casts quickly and easily.
Some of the tools you can try out are:
There are 3 different color sliders under this adjustment tool, namely magenta, cyan, and yellow tones. If for example your image is too orange, you can reduce the amount of yellow tone in the photo, or if the skies are too blue, you can pull the slider back on the cyan as well. The tools under color balance also allow you to customize the settings for highlights, midtones, and shadows, which is most helpful when the color cast is only on one part of the image.
The eyedropper tool offers a semi-automated way to get the color right. To apply it, you need to open Curves adjustment, select the white eyedropper, and point it at any neutrally colored object in your photo. Once finished, the program will automatically detect the precise color to use.
Some programs have a white balance preset to automatically adjust the photo for you.
Temperature and Tint.
The color temperature slider basically adds either more blue or more yellow to your image, which dictates if it is cold or warm. The tint sliders control how much green and magenta are present in the image.
Curves and Levels.
These two tools are more advanced features that give you more control over the colors within the image. You can utilize these by first selecting RGB space and picking a color channel. Once it is set, drag the line (if using Curves) or slider (if using Levels) to manipulate the image’s temperature. We recommend making small changes at a time to get the desired result.
Top Ways to Fix a Color Cast in Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop has certainly made its name in the world of photo editing, and for good reason. There are a few ways you can use the classic software to fix a color cast in your image, which you can find above. However, these are our top 2 recommended tips:
Technique 1: Photoshop Filter
Within the program, you can find a Filter drop down menu. These help automate changes and all you need to do are some minor tweaks after.
Step 1: Duplicate your layer and ensure that the duplicated image is on top of the original photo.
Step 2: Select Filter > Blur > Average in the drop down menu and apply to your duplicated layer. This automatically detects the average tone of the image.
Step 3: Go to the Adjustments menu and select Invert to shift the duplicated layer to the opposite tone.
Step 4: Reduce the opacity of the duplicated layer and find a good balance between the two images since the original photo will start to fade through.
Technique 2: Eyedropper Tool
As mentioned above, the eyedropper tool is one of the most effective and quickest ways to fix color cast because it automates part of the process. Here’s how you can apply it in Adobe Photoshop or even in Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Step 1: Duplicate your layer, and keep your original photo below it.
Step 2: Use a Pen Tool to select the area with color cast and change the Blend Mode to Color.
Step 3: Select a Soft Round Brush and press on Alt or Option to change it to Eye Dropper.
Step 4: Select a color within the image that is closest to the original color and adjust the opacity as needed.
Step 5: Brush over the area that needs fixing.
How to Fix a Color Cast in Lightroom?
Adobe Lightroom is another great software to use in fixing color cast. We recommend using Eye Dropper + Temp + Tint Tools.
Lightroom also has its own eyedropper tool which can quickly fix even color casts in an image. However, you can also apply extra adjustments if your image is still a blend of different hues.
Step 1: Select the eye dropper and identify the most neutral part of your image, which would most likely be a medium grey or white. Select it and it should automatically fix most of if not the whole photo.
Step 2: If your image still looks uneven, select the Brush Tool and slide the Temperature slider to either cool down or warm up your image. Next, adjust your Tint slider as well.