Fixing Damaged Photos: Color Correction

The term ‘color cast’ refers to a color imbalance from settings on the camera when an image was taken. Sometimes in low light, images may have an orange / yellow-ish tint based on the white balance settings from the original image.

To fix this you’ll need to balance out the heavy warm tinting by cooling the image down. Follow along for some guidance on fixing color casting. The exact adjustments you’ll make will depend on your individual image, but we will go over some best practices. You may end up needing a combination of several types of selections.

Here we have an example of an unbalanced color cast that's created a yellow/red tint over the image:

Example of Overly Warm ImageStart with opening your image in the Photo Editor.

A good place to start with color correction is, unsurprisingly, in the Color Tool! Here you’ll have a few options that deal directly with the color channels of your image.

If you find that it’s only slightly off, say you have a red photo that is showing up more purple-red than orange-red, the Hue slider can help. The Hue slider targets all the colors in an image and adjusts them based on the main color it’s pulling from.

Using Color Tool to Fix ImagesAdditionally, moving down Saturation can help. In this case our image has a vivid orange tint. By pulling the saturation down, the image as whole will lose saturation and typically the tool will start by muting the colors that are highest in saturation.

Another useful adjustment is the Temperature slider. When dealing with color profiles that are overly hot, moving this towards the blue side will add a cooling filter over the image and even out the tone.

You may also find after moving the saturation down, you lose some contrast to the image. To help this, go to the Exposure Tool, and move around the Brightness and Contrast sliders (and maybe Highlights/Shadows) to even out the contrast.

Brightness and Contrast for Image CorrectionAlso feel free to use the Paint Mode in color correction. It may be that only parts of your image are over-saturated or need to be treated. By using the ‘Paint’ tool, you can apply these effects only to the areas you need fixed.

The final result will be a cooler, more balanced image than the original.

Final Result:

Final Result: Color Correction

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