Red Bandit Rescue – Color Correction for Photos

with 2 Comments

Jenny BinderDo you have an invisible bandit that lives somewhere you frequently take photos? Mine lives in my kitchen and he is an evil little red guy. Nearly every photo I take there has a “lovely” red cast to it.

Whether or not you have a color bandit, you’re bound to take a photo every once in a while with a color cast. Today’s easy tip utilizes the Hue/Saturation Dialog box to help us “shoo” our color bandits away.

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For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1:

Although this photo is not from my kitchen, it has some serious color cast issues.

2009-03-16-image01

Press Ctr U (Mac: Cmd U) to open the Hue/Saturation Dialog box.

Step 2:

Click on the Edit drop-down menu (that currently says Master), and choose the color you think is the problem. I’ll choose Reds.

2009-03-16-image02el

Notice when you choose a color, the two spectrum color bars at the bottom of the dialog box now have an added feature.

2009-03-16-image03el

Here’s the deal—when you choose an Edit color, such as Reds, Photoshop will only change the red shades of your photo when you move the Saturation slider. The added marks between the two spectrum color bars show you what part of the color spectrum will be adjusted. The problem is many times our eyes play tricks on us and the color we think we need to adjust, isn’t really the right color. But the next step will remedy that problem.

Step 3:

Move your mouse pointer away from the dialog box and over your photo. Notice how it changes to an eyedropper. Place the eyedropper over a part of your photo that is supposed to be white, and click to sample it. Did your Edit color change? When I clicked on the mat of the picture on the wall, my Edit color changed to Yellow. If yours didn’t change, that’s ok, you’re just a good guesser. (Or maybe you have better color sense than me!)

2009-03-16-image04el

Step 4:

Now go back to your dialog box and move the Saturation slider to the left to remove the color cast. If the color cast is extreme, like in my photo, you might have to go quite a ways. Most of the time, a little will do it.

2009-03-16-image05el

Step 5:

When you’re satisfied with your changes, click OK.

2009-03-16-image06

Here’s another example. This one didn’t need much correction, but even just a little bit can help a photo look much better. (And yes, this one is from my kitchen.)

2009-03-16-image07

One thing to note, this doesn’t always work on every photo. Sometimes I end up de-saturating something I didn’t want to. But it does work most of the time.

Also, if you are camera-savvy, you might be asking why I don’t just adjust the white balance on my camera before taking the pictures. I guess because normally the photos are of my children (ages 7, 4, and 1), and catching them “in the act” isn’t something that can wait on me to finish adjusting my camera settings. I’d rather have a red picture I want (and can fix) than a perfect picture that was taken 20 seconds late and didn’t capture the moment. Give it a shot, and have a great week!

Credits: Tutorial by Jenny Binder, www.HeirloomScrapbooks.com. Special thanks to Jenny’s dear niece who graciously let her use this silly photo!

Step 1:

Although this photo is not from my kitchen, it has some serious color cast issues. Press Ctr U (Mac: Cmd U) to open the Hue/Saturation Dialog box.

2009-03-16-image01

Step 2:

Click on the Edit drop-down menu (that currently says Master), and choose the color you think is the problem. I’ll choose Reds.

2009-03-16-image02ps

Notice when you choose a color, the two spectrum color bars at the bottom of the dialog box now have an added feature.

2009-03-16-image03ps

Here’s the deal—when you choose an Edit color, such as Reds, Photoshop will only change the red shades of your photo when you move the Saturation slider. The added marks between the two spectrum color bars show you what part of the color spectrum will be adjusted.

The problem is many times our eyes play tricks on us and the color we think we need to adjust, isn’t really the right color. But the next step will remedy that problem.

Step 3:

Move your mouse pointer away from the dialog box and over your photo. Notice how it changes to an eyedropper. Place the eyedropper over a part of your photo that is supposed to be white, and click to sample it. Did your Edit color change?

When I clicked on the mat of the picture on the wall, my Edit color changed to Yellow. If yours didn’t change, that’s ok, you’re just a good guesser. (Or maybe you have better color sense than me!)

2009-03-16-image04ps

Step 4:

Now go back to your dialog box and move the Saturation slider to the left to remove the color cast. If the color cast is extreme, like in my photo, you might have to go quite a ways. Most of the time, a little will do it.

2009-03-16-image05ps

Step 5:

When you’re satisfied with your changes, click OK.

2009-03-16-image06

Here’s another example. This one didn’t need much correction, but even just a little bit can help a photo look much better. (And yes, this one is from my kitchen.)

2009-03-16-image07

One thing to note, this doesn’t always work on every photo. Sometimes I end up de-saturating something I didn’t want to. But it does work most of the time.

Also, if you are camera-savvy, you might be asking why I don’t just adjust the white balance on my camera before taking the pictures. I guess because normally the photos are of my children (ages 7, 4, and 1), and catching them “in the act” isn’t something that can wait on me to finish adjusting my camera settings. I’d rather have a red picture I want (and can fix) than a perfect picture that was taken 20 seconds late and didn’t capture the moment.

Give it a shot, and have a great week!

Credits: Tutorial by Jenny Binder, www.HeirloomScrapbooks.com. Special thanks to Jenny’s dear niece who graciously let her use this silly photo!

2 Responses

  1. Kathi Blythe
    | Reply

    I couldn’t find how to save a pdf of this tutorial. I play on my laptop when traveling and don’t always have internet access. Thanks!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Kathy. Great question. We were not offering PDF versions of the tutorials when this tutorial was published.
      However, you should save the webpage on your desktop for view offline. 🙂

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