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Removing Color Casts

I want to share this really great way of removing a color cast from your images. This can be pretty tricky especially with portraits. You know, when your subject’s skin has that weird color cast you can’t seem to correct. It can turn into a pretty daunting process working with selective color or color balance palettes. It seems one adjustment always affects something else and many times you don’t really get what you want. Skin tone is tricky, so, if you end up with a color cast you want to neutralize here is a great way to achieve that.

Here I have an image of Laura Mason. As you can see the image has an unappealing yellow cast. I want to adjust and neutralize that orange/yellow.


Step 1: Start out with your image layer and then add a blank layer above it by clicking on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of your layers panel.


Step 2: Select your eyedropper tool and choose a portion of the image that most represents the overall color you want to correct.


It is best to find an area that represents both darker tones and lighter tones. Something in the middle.


Step 3: Click the eyedropper on that spot and that will make that color your foreground color.

Step 4: Press Option+Delete (Mac) Alt+Delete (PC) and choose to fill the blank layer with the foreground color (which is the color of the skin you selected). The blank layer should now be filled with the skin tone color.

skin layer above

Step 5: Change the blending mode of your new layer to color. You will notice that your image now has an overlay of the skin color you selected.


Step 6: Now, change the overlay color to the opposite color. Do this by pressing Command+I (Mac) or Control+I (PC). This inverts the color to the opposite color.


Step 7: Set the color layer’s opacity slider and lower the slider down until you see the color cast removed to a point that appeals to you.


A few general tips:

  • I am running this opacity around 5-12%.
  • This is a global change, meaning it affects the entire image.
  • If you want to fine tune the color cast correction layer even further, you can always create a layer mask on your color cast correction layer and remove/blend some of it using your layer mask.

Give this a try, its is a super quick fix to what can be a tough problem.

To see more of Greg’s work, click .

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