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Photoshop 7 - How to correct color in an improperly lit photo

Posted on 2011-10-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have a photo (see attached) which has a brownish tint.  How can I adjust the colors so that I can get a more realistic image.  

I've been manually --trial and error- adjusting cyan, magenta, etc. to no avail.  Surely there must be an easier way.  

No I can't afford to upgrade to new Photoshop.  Severe cash flow problems here.
Question by:brothertruffle880

Expert Comment

ID: 36973336
You can try to use "Curves" and "Levels" to adjust the color of the image.
Image -> Adjustments and then you will see "levels" and "curves"
if that is not what you are looking for, describe the more realistic tone you are looking for in the picture and I will see if i can get what you are looking for
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 36973621
I think it's the lighting that needs touched up. I'll upload a quick sample so you can see the result. I'm just guessing what you're looking for. Like jaxbrian said, if you can give more details on "realistic" maybe we can give better directions. quick touch-up

Author Comment

ID: 36973737
What I'm looking for is more white.
the overall tint is too brown.  The chrome on the camera is brown.  the background on which the camera is resting is brown.  it should be white.


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Expert Comment

ID: 36973837
more thank likely you are going to need to adjust both the curves, levels and exposure. this is going to be a trial and error until you get the results that you are looking for.
LVL 26

Accepted Solution

David Brugge earned 2000 total points
ID: 36975156
Gather 'round boys and girls, you're gonna' love this nifty trick.

As you've found out brother, you can move the individual colors around until your face turns blue and never come up with the combination to clear up your color cast.

Fortunately, Photoshop has had a handy tool to do just that ever since PhotoShop 2. Yes Jeremy, I am that old.  It's the levels dialogue box (it's in the curves dialogue box as well)

There are three little eyedroppers in the levels dialogue. The one on the left, sets the shadows slider to whatever tone that you sample. This way you can turn the tones that should be black but appears as washed out grays, back to full black.

The eyedropper on the right, sets the highlight range to whatever you sample. This turns tones that should be white, to white.

The magic is in the middle eyedropper. As you might have guessed, it sets whatever area that you sample to middle gray. The magic is that it sets all three channels to middle gray. This means that in the case of a color shift, some of the channels will be shifted a lot more than others.

Now this of course works best if you actually have something in your image that is neutral gray, and it's why professional photographers include a gray card in a test shot. I didn't find anything in this photos that was neutral gray, but close. Try this...

Call up the levels and use the mid-tone eyedropper to sample the background area. Sample the background color.Sample here (above) and you get this (below) result.
The image looks better, but has too much blueNot bad, but too much blue. What if we had a way to shift the colors, but not near as much as the mid-tone sampling did.

So here's the neat trick that I promised.

Immediately after closing the levels dialogue box, go to Edit>Fade Levels. In fact, commit the shortcut Ctrl (Cmd) + Shift + F, to memory because once you learn it, you will be using it for all kinds of things. Now just use the slider to find that sweet spot between what you started with, and what the mid-town eyedropper did.
Try this yourself. Move the slider back and forth until you find the tone that works best for you. It may not be perfect, but it gets you a lot further down the road.


Expert Comment

ID: 36983024
I upgraded from Photoshop 7 quite some time ago so my screenshots are from CS4 but the process should be basically the same.
 First I start by opening the curves tools. Image > adjustments > curves

Expert Comment

ID: 36983060
Crap! don't push enter while uploading a screenshot lol. it will submit the whole thing lol. I guess I'll finish my post here.

    red - output=155, input=192
Green - output=173, input=191
   blue - output=88, input=73
  RGB - output=81, input=41

Then open up the levels. image > adjustments > levels
This is just to brighten up the photo a tad to make the shadows more visible.

 Change the left textbox from 0 to 5 and change the center textbox from 1.00 to 1.07
and that will give you a much more even color on your lighting.
I hope this helps.
 Finished product

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