Photoshop basics – simple colour correction

Godafoss waterfall rainbow
Godafoss waterfall rainbow

Colour Correction

This is a quick and simple technique for correcting the colour of an image in photoshop. It is not always successful and will not give you the desired results 100% of the time. But as it is quick and easy it is definitely one to try first.

The first step is to duplicate the layer.
The first step is to duplicate the layer.

My picture of Goðafoss has a dictinct blue cast. It was taken in low light and this is a common problem as my canon couldn’t really see well enough to decide on an appropriate white balance. I could have corrected this at the RAW stage, but for the benefit of this tutorial, I burned it as it came out of the camera.

Average Blur

Duplicate the layer. Then apply an ‘average blur’ to the top layer.

Apply an 'average blur' to the top layer.
Apply an ‘average blur’ to the top layer.

You will see the top layer converted into a big blue smudge (or whatever colour cast you are dealing with).

Curves Adjustment

The next step is to create a ‘curves adjustment layer’ by clicking on the adjustment layer button on the layers pallet. Alternatively you can create a ‘curves adjustment layer’ from the layer menu. See more information on adjustment layers.

Create a 'curves adjustment layer'.
Create a ‘curves adjustment layer’.

The curves dialogue box will open and you simply select the middle eye-dropper tool and click anywhere on the top layer.

Click anywhere on the top layer.
Click anywhere on the top layer.

Finally

You should see your top layer turn grey. The final step is to get rid of the top layer so that the curves adjustment layer is directly affecting the original picture.

Delete or make the top layer invisible.
Delete or make the top layer invisible.

You can now see the effect of the curves adjustment on your original image.

*Note: this can also be achieved with the middle eye-dropper on the ‘Levels adjustment layer’.

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By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.

2 comments

  1. Thank you for teaching me this very valuable technique, Tony! It has brought my knowledge forward a huge amount as I have been fiddling around with other controls and often not getting good enough results.

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