Many of us take pictures at night under yellow light and are stuck with a yellow cast on them.

If you want to remove the yellow cast using Photoshop or other software, it’s quite simple really. Here’s how I do it with Photoshop CS3. The procedure for other versions of Photoshop (like Elements) may be slightly different. Do an internet search for “remove color cast Photoshop xyz” with “xyz” being the name of your version of Photoshop.

If you don’t have Photoshop, there’s an excellent free software called GIMP. Download it and google “remove color cast GIMP”. Or “white balance GIMP”.

This tutorial will give you a general idea, though.

Disclaimer: I have no training in Photoshop and I’m no good with any kind of software. This is just what I’ve learnt through trial and error. If you know a better way of doing it in CS3, please give me your input in the comments form.

I took this pic in yellow light. Straight out of camera.

Make a copy of the pic and work on the copy, never on the original.

In CS3, there are a couple of things you could try.

Image > Adjustments > Auto Color

or

Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels

or

Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels
followed by
Image > Adjustments > Auto Color

The results vary depending on the pic. In this case, all three actions give me the same result.

Much better. However, there’s another way to do it – one that gives you much more control over the final output.

You can either work directly on the pic, or work on a layer (recommended).

To work directly, go to
Image > Adjustments > Levels

or
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels > OK

Both will bring you to this:

See the three eye droppers towards the bottom right? The first one is for black, the second one’s for grey, the third one’s for white. You pick an eye dropper and pick a corresponding colour spot on the picture to get what the software thinks is the right “color cast”. Many times, the results are weird, but it’s worth trying.

Click on the third eye dropper tool and pick what you think is the spot with the purest white in the picture. Like the rim of the plate. It will give you this:

If you click on a spot and do not like the result, go to Edit > Undo Color Sample and try again. (Depending on the pic you may also want to play around with the grey color dropper, picking a grey point. I didn’t do it with this picture).

When you are satisfied with what the color dropper gives you, go to the three sliders below the RGB graph. I moved the left slider a bit to the right to reduce highlights, and the center slider a bit to the left. Then click the dropdown menu at RGB to go to Red, Green and Blue one by one and move the sliders around to correct the color cast to your satisfction.

If you’re using Elements or an older version of Photoshop, they have a ‘Color Cast’ Tool that works similarly.

The lychees no longer look greenish and the forks are a more neutral grey.

You can stop right here and call it a day. If you used layers, when you save it as jpg, it will flatten the image and that’s it.

Or when you’ve done everything you want to do, go to Layer > Flatten, then

Filter > Sharpen. It will look like this.

Go to Edit > Fade Sharpen. Bring the slider down to 25% or thereabouts.

- bee

JUGALBANDI FORUMS

We’ve been maintaining Fitness Logs for the past few weeks. We’ve also been trying to focus on aspects of vegetarian and vegan nutrition to further our fitness goals. We thought it would be a good idea to have a forum for those who are similarly inclined to share their insights. We can all encourage each other to reach our exercise and nutrition targets.

Plus, we would like to invite those interested in photography to participate. We’ve set up a special forum for CLICK – our monthly food photo contest. You can post your picture there before submission to get constructive feedback from other readers and bloggers.

Come over to the Jugalbandi Forums and tell us what you think. If you’ve registered here before, the same login and password apply.

- Bee and Jai

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29 Comments

  1. sia says:

    me likes it :) will meet u guys in jugalbandits forum :D

  2. Lavi says:

    It is really usefull info, that you have shared. I removed yellow cast on some of my picture’s. Its Good!
    Thank U!

  3. Happy Cook says:

    Firs tthing i saw was the forum, my pic are most of the time taken in the evening. So thankyou for the tip and when i have a bit more free time today will be over there in the forum.

  4. aquadaze says:

    (clapping hands) this is exactly what I needed! Take a lot of my pics in the evening, they are so bad that I end up deleting them all!

  5. A&N says:

    Gosh this is awesome! This is JUST what I wanted :D

    And thanks SO SO much. We bought some lights now. Not the lowel ego lights, but just lights that are white instead of a yellow tinge. We think they’re good because our latest pics have come out great (or at least that’s what we’d like to think!) We took them in the night again. So, will work on Photoshop to see if we can make them better. Thanks :)

  6. ChefBliss says:

    Thank you, this is exactly what I’ve been wanting — I just hadn’t gone in search of it yet!! :) I really enjoy your site!

  7. Cham says:

    Yellow cast removing is so useful. I will check ur forum.

  8. Pooh says:

    Thanks for the pointers. I have lots of pictures that need color adjustment. I use GIMP but haven’t played around with many features. Didn’t find a tutorial either…is there on you know of online?

    http://www.gimpfaq.org/tutorials/whitebal/

  9. Manasi says:

    Thank u for the easy to understand tutorial!
    I use GIMP and truth is I am no wiz with all these things, what I do is probably a shortcut and may not be th e right thing but for what it is worth, I should like to mention it here, when my pictures are yellow or some other color, I open them with gimp, go to the option ‘colors’ got to tab ‘ curves’ and make the adjustment. Works for me.

  10. Madhu says:

    So many useful tips, will keep this in mind..

  11. Divya says:

    Very useful post for me!!

  12. Asha says:

    Great info, last photo really looks beautiful. I get pinkish haze than the yellow, will try this! :)

  13. SuperChef says:

    ohh..thanks you soo very much for this info…many of my pics look a lot better now!! :) :)

  14. Soma says:

    Very useful information.. for people like us banking on natural sunlight to take pictures. going over to the forum

  15. purplesque says:

    Yellow casts have been my arch enemy for as long as I can remember- thanks for the great tips!

    The forums are a brilliant idea..love the idea of sharing both photographs and fitness goals!

  16. Bharti says:

    Useful post. Thanks.

  17. Nirmala says:

    Thats a great tip. But after making Jai’s table top lighting tool I am no more struggling with yellow light. I am a great fan of GIMP and shall try this in my next CLICK! Yeah count me in for the forums :)

  18. Manggy says:

    Great tutorial Bee and Jai! Levels works wonders but I’ve become very fond of the Curves menu (Ctrl-M). It also has the same white/black eyedropper functions that the levels menu has :)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thanx sooo much for this tutorial,I have been taking all these bad photos..and never really realised that many times it boils down to a “yellow cloud” that can be removed..! Yippie!
    Regarding the forum,as a vegan I am delighted to hear and cant wait to join in!Sounds great!What a wonderful idea!See you there! :) Mia

  20. Mia says:

    oops! I was so excited,I didnt realise I logged in as anonymous :) Mia

  21. Madhumathi says:

    The tutorial is very useful and the forum is a great idea :) Thanks!

  22. Jamie says:

    Bee, I can’t tell you how helpful this is! I took a picture last night of a meal that I made and had planned on sending it into Click: Wood, but after opening it, I would be too embarrassed to post it due to the yellow light. I can’t wait to try this trick!

  23. Alka says:

    Gleeee..i almost follow all these steps except those droppers(gosh i never was aware of their existence).But it was a real sweet effort to explain things in detail
    Will move on now and check the forum..C ya there :-)

  24. Giff says:

    Nice. Since I shoot at night with a point-and-shoot, this is often a problem for me. One technique is to see if your camera can set white balance manually, but I often just fix later in PS.

    Haven’t used the eyedroppers before. I normally use the R-G-B channels in levels and bring in the sliders to where the histogram starts. Sometimes I still need to do a bit of tweaking in either color channels or hue/saturation.

    Instead of sharpening and then fading that effect, you might try experimenting with Unsharp mask. It offers more fine tuned control.

    I describe more of both of those approaches over here: http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/2008/12/food-blog-photography-lessons-pt-1.html

  25. le says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing!! :)

  26. rajesh says:

    Nice tips, for those who dont have photoshop, or are intimidated by this photoshop try picasa. Its not as fancy but does the job. I have explained the white balance part of picasa in my post linked below.
    http://paithyakara.blogspot.com/2008/11/indoor-photo-color-messed-up.html

    PS We been vegetarian since a month, and enjoying it so far. Have not missed the “protein” thanks to substitutes like soy, paneer, tofu and the likes and the various recipes Shankari tries out. I have experimented a few new dishes times myself.

  27. Rajee says:

    It would be great if you can explain to us how to be better photographer for ur monthly click event so that we can improve quality, light focus with different angles like food magazine.
    I hope u soon will become great photographer in the top of this world.

  28. Uma says:

    This is such a useful post. Thank you! :)

  29. Tuty says:

    I have to say thank you for such an informative post. I love your blog :-)



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