How to Correct the Color of a Photo: Page 1

Color Correction = Color Temperature  If you've taken photographs under a variety of lighting conditions, you've noticed how the results show a distinct color cast depending on the light source. Light's color temperature is what professional photographers and photo editors use to measure and modify different colors in a photo to achieve a desired color effect. When the color temperature is high, more blue light exists. When the color temperature is low, there is more red. In the following three examples, see how Warren corrected each photo's color by setting appropriate color temperatures.

Before-and-After Example #1

Problem photo  This original image (taken indoors at Disney World's EPCOT Theme Park) has an undesirable orange overcast. Yellow, orange, and yellow-orange images are often caused by shooting with the wrong white balance setting. Underexposure may also contribute to the photographer's white balance problem.

Methodology  Overly yellow, orange, or orange-yellow tones can easily be corrected during post-production. Warren saved the problem image in Photoshop and altered the color balance. Making color adjustments using "lab color mode" instead of the usual "RGB (Red/Green/Blue) mode" enabled Warren to be more accurate at saturating specific colors. He also lightened the overall exposure of the original image while adding a slight sharpening filter to it.

Photo credit: Alvin Leong

Correcting the color of a photo

Before-and-After Example #2

Problem photo  A brownish cast, along with a poor focus, makes this indoor photo of an unconventional, bogus million-dollar bill less than desirable.

Methodology  Unfortunately, the original photo was small and lacked quality. Nevertheless, using Photoshop's "lab color mode," Warren converted the drab brown overtone to a brighter, lighter, reddish-brown saturation on the bill. He also lightened the exposure and added crispness to the fake million-dollar bill.

Correcting the color of a photo

Before-and-After Example #3

Original photo  This original photo's brown cast compromises the quality of this image of a bride in a white gown. In addition, the background's color temperature ought to be cooler that the model's skin tones.

Methodology  Warren began by using Photoshop's "white-balancing" feature. He increased the exposure level and adjusted the contrast to maintain the bride's smooth skin. Then he carefully added vibrance and saturation to the colors of the walls and skin tones. He finished by removing the distraction of the window light reflector.

Photo credit: Ty Parish

See the full-size color-corrected image.

Correcting the color of a photo

Before-and-After Example #4

Original photo  An overly blue cast to the sky and water distracts from the quality of this evening outdoor photo of houses on stilts. In addition to lessening the supernatural blues, the photo's color temperature needs to be warmed.

Methodology  Warren took two corrective approaches to remove the intense blue color cast distractions. Using Photoshop's "Curves" adjustment tool, he choose the blue channel and dropped its intensity level. He also used the "Match Color" adjustment tool and simply clicked the "Neutralize" box. Lastly, he increased the photo's vibrance slightly to the colors of the houses' light sources.

Photo credit: Treve Johnson

See the full-size color-corrected image.

Color Correction page #1

Color Correction page #2

Color Saturation slideshow

In addition to Warren's three color correction pages,
see the large collection of WCD's unique photo edit pages in the left column.

Don't wait any longer to showcase your photo presentations. Contact Warren Camp Design today, at 209-795-7661, to discuss your upcoming campaign and learn how Warren can utilize his digital artistry skills to enhance and give prominence to your photos.