Basic Editing

Correct a color cast

Written by Gail Bjork

Turn a photo with a color cast into one with more true-to-life colors.

When an image has colors that are not true to life, it is said to have a color cast. Poor white balance, particularly when taking photos inside with the camera white balance setting set to auto, is one of the most frequent causes of color casts. Color casts can be toned down or eliminated using image editing software.*

colorcastPrograms such Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and PaintShop Pro have built in tools for color correction. Some even have software filters that mimic the technique of attaching a colored filter to the camera lens to adjust the color balance.

Correcting color balance can be as simple as a single click on an “instant fix” button or using more sophisticated editing tools.

Free photo editing programs such as Picasa include tools that make color correction easy.

tuningThe above image was opened in Picasa.

Upon double-clicking the image, the editing window opens.

Click the tuning tab and then adjust the color temperature slider. As you move the slider to the right or left, you can watch changes take place as you make them. The red-eye was also fixed using the red-eye removal tool found under the basic fixes tab.

This simple method of color correcting a digital image is fine for most people. If you have a more sophisticated image editing program, check the help files for information about available tools for color balance, color cast and color correction.

* ideally you should adjust white balance settings in camera when taking photos inside or in difficult light…before taking a shot. If some of the white balance presets don’t work, do a custom white balance. Check your camera manual about how to do a custom white balance.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.