Quick Fix: That ugly yellow / orange cast in my pictures…
If you take your own photos, you’ve no doubt had it happen. The photo looked great in the viewfinder, or on the LCD. But when you downloaded it, it had that yellow or orange cast to it. And you may have thought, “Oh, no. This shot is ruined.”
Well, that’s what we’re going to fix in this tutorial.
The reason the yellow or orange cast happens is simply because the ‘white balance’ was off in your camera when you took the picture. And I could get into a long discussion about color temperatures of incandescent light, fluorescent light, daylight, etc. But for the purpose of this tutorial, it really doesn’t matter. We’re just going to fix it. And we’re going to do it in less than a minute.
If you use Light Room, Aperture, or a program like that, there’s an adjustment just for white-balance. But I’m going to be using Photoshop CS2, which doesn’t have an adjustment specifically for that. And you can do the identical same thing I’m going to show you in Photoshop Elements.
For the main photo, I picked one that was way off in its white balance, and has a very extreme color cast.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Open your photo and go to Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter.
This will open a little window where you can pick different color filters. Just select one of the Cooling Filters and adjust the Density slider until your whites look white. I used Cooling Filter (82) for this one.
Once you have your whites where you want them, just click OK. That’s about all there is to it. And for most photos that may be all you need. You would be done.
Pretty simple, huh?
But as you can see in this photo, because it was so extreme to start with, adding that much of a Cooling Filter turned the window blue. So, let’s go ahead and fix that too.
Using your Marquee or Lasso tool, outline the area you want to change (in this case the window), and go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation.
As you will see, it will open a window that defaults to Master, which affects all of the colors. But we don’t want to change all the colors, just the blue. So, click on the word Master and a drop-down menu will open, allowing you to select the individual colors to adjust.
In this case, we’re actually dealing more with a Cyan than a true Blue. So, just move the Saturation slider to the left to de-saturate that color until it looks right.
You can also play with the Lightness slider if you like. But don’t worry about the color-bars or eye-droppers at the bottom. We’ll address those in a different tutorial.
Once you get everything looking the way you want, just click OK and you’re done.
You can always go back and tweak the other colors a little more, or the brightness and contrast, or whatever you like – which I would normally do. But for a ‘quick-fix’ this isn’t too bad the way it is.
And when you get used to these adjustment tools, it can all be done in less than one minute.
Hopefully, you found this tutorial helpful. And maybe one day it will save a photo you may have otherwise thought unusable.