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Correct Color Casts in HDR Images

When you shoot color photographs in high dynamic range (HDR) photography, it stands to reason that you’ll occasionally run into color problems. Color cast is a type of color problem that happens a lot, and you might not even be aware of it. There are several ways to combat the problem: Adjusting levels (to adjust white balance), removing color cast, and applying photo filters.

The left panel of this figure shows a tile wall where the color is off — the whites are too warm. In Photoshop Elements, use Levels to correct the white balance. Choose Enhance→Adjust Lighting→Levels. In the Levels dialog box, as shown in the right panel of the figure, click the right-most eyedropper and click something in the image that should be white. What was not white automatically becomes white.


In the top-left panel of the this figure, the ceiling should be white. It isn’t. In this case, try Enhance→Adjust Color→Remove Color Cast. From the dialog box that opens, click to select a black, gray, or white object in the photo.


That part takes a bit of trial and error. Try clicking different places of the image until you get the right color. You can see the result in the top-right panel of the figure.

You can use photo filters to cool or warm an image. The left panel in this figure is too warm. In other words, it looks too yellow-red. As a fix, choose Filter→Adjustments→Photo Filter to try out photo filters.

The options in the Photo Filter dialog box (the right panel of the figure) are pretty intuitive: Choose a filter type based on the description or a solid color and then choose a density to apply to the filter. In this case, a cooling filter (visually, blues cool and reds warm an image). You may have to tinker with the density to get the right strength.

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