How to use Photo Filters to Color Correct Photos

Learn how to quickly remove a color cast from a photo using a Color Filter in Photoshop.

Applying Photo Filters to your digital images is a quick and easy way to make overall color corrections or to add interesting and artistic effects. 

Today let’s look at how we can use Photo Filters to make an overall color correction to a photo.

Take a quick look at the beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. It’s very pink/orange, isn’t it?  That is part of its natural beauty, but it is also a part that affected some of my photos. After hiking to the bottom of the canyon, my husband and I were resting, having a snack, when this little guy came up looking for a treat.

I was happy that he sat still for just a second so I could snap his picture, but I wasn’t pleased with how the pink soil and canyon walls affected the color balance of the photo.  Let’s remove that pink cast using Photo Filters.

In Photoshop:

  • Open an image that needs color correction.
  • In the Adjustments Panel, click on the Create a New Photo Filter Adjustment Layer icon. (If your Adjustments Panel is not open, go to the top menu, click on Window, then Adjustments.)
  • In the Filter option, click on the down-pointing arrow on the right to access filter presets.
  • Cycle through the pre-sets by using the down-pointing arrow on your keyboard to see which filter works best for your photo.  I want to remove some of the pink/orange tones in my photo, so I chose the blue/green tones (the colors on the color wheel opposite of pink/orange, the colors I want to remove) of Underwater. Here is the result:

And here they are side-by-side for easy comparison:

Option #1: Besides using the Filter Presets, we also have the option of choosing a color to use for our filter.  Fine-tune your color correction choices here by choosing your own color, or go wild and apply color filters to your images to create artistic effects.

Option #2: Play with the Density slider to increase or decrease the filter effect.

Note: Be sure “Preserve Luminosity” is checked if you want to preserve the light values of your image.

In Photoshop Elements:

  • Open an image that needs color correction.
  • In Guided Mode, choose Color, then Remove a Color Cast.
  • Click on the Color Cast Selection tool, then click on a part of the image that should be black, white, or gray. If you are unhappy with the result, keep clicking in the photo until you are happy.

TIP: Magnify the photo so it’s easier to find pure black, white, or gray pixels.

And that’s it! A super simple way to color correct your photos.  This doesn’t always work for all images, but it’s usually my first go-to tool when I want to color-correct something.

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