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I've Got the Blues: Correcting a Color Cast Using Curves

Happy Monday Scrappers!  Tamara here, back with another fun photography tutorial for you today!  Each week, through these tutorials, I am going to try and touch on all aspects of scrap booking, such as learning our scrapping software,  beginner and advanced digital scrapbooking techniques, and, of course, photography!  We scrap because we want to show off our pictures, so that means we need to have nice pictures to scrap, right?  Therefore, once a month, I am going to show you a  technique that I use when it comes to editing  pictures so that you can really show them off when you go to scrap them.

How many times have you taken a picture and, once you got a good look at it, you realized that it had a strange wash of color over  it?  That strange color can be caused by any number of things, some of which include lying on a beautiful green lawn or, wearing a bright red t-shirt, or even sitting in the shade.  Color casts, as they are called,  are colors  that are reflected onto your subject from something close to them.  The following tutorial is a quick way to use your curves dialog box to correct that color cast on your photos.

Before we begin, open the photo that you would like to correct. I picked this photo of my son  that I took last February during an unexpected Texas snowstorm.  I forgot to change my camera's light settings, so the first ten pictures I took were all blue.  This is a BAD color cast that wasn't caused by something he wore, or by his surroundings..this one was caused purely by photographer error.  Hopefully the picture you choose will not be as bad as this one!

So here it is in all its blue glory!  This is not a photo that you would normally scrap, but, by doing a quick fix in Photoshop, you can use it in your layouts and be very happy with the outcome.

Once your photo is open, click on the half black/half white circle on the layers palette to create new fill/adjustment layer, and select Threshold.

Once you select Threshold, your photo will change to a strange black and white looking photo. DO NOT GET WORRIED, that is supposed to be how it looks!

A dialogue window will pop up when you select Threshold. Drag the slider all the way to the left. Your photo will now be completely white. Slowly drag the slider back until you begin to see black reappear on the screen. Once you see the black reappear, click OK.

Now choose your Color Sampler Tool in your tools palette located on the left of your workstation. The Color Sampler Tool  is located under your eyedropper. You will need to right click on the eyedropper and select the second eyedropper listed. Click the dropper tool once on the black area of your photo to give you your darkest reference point on your photo. I always zoom in close to make sure that I am clicking on the black area. If you don't put it on the black area, then you will not get a good reference point.

Double click on the thumbnail of the threshold layer in your layers palette to bring up the slider again. Slide it all the way to the right, until your photo appears all black. Slowly slide it back towards the left, until white begins to appear, and click OK.  When you slide your slider all the way over and you may see that there are already some white spots, do not choose those areas. They are overblown ares. Instead, drag your slider until a larger section of the white appears. Then you can take your sample from that section.

Select your Color Sampler Tool once again, and click once on the white part of your photo. This will give you your lightest reference point. Drag the threshold layer, in your layers palette,  to the trash can, as you will no longer need it.  You will now see your photo with the two points selected on it.

Select the new adjustment layer (half black/half white circle) icon at the bottom of the layers palette and select Curves.  The Curves Adjustment dialogue box will open. On the left hand side of the box, select the BLACK shadow eyedropper (the top one) and click in the center of the target labeled #1. This will correct the shadows in your photo. Next, select the highlight eyedropper (the white one) and click in the center of the target labeled #2. This will correct the highlights in your photo.

If your midtones need to be corrected, and in this instance they do,  select the dropper for the midtones (the gray one) and click on something in the photo that is medium gray.  I usually look for a medium gray on the inside of the eye, but concrete is also a good choice if you have happen to have  it in your photo.

Once you have finished your adjustments, you can remove the numbered tags by selecting your Color Sample Tool and then clicking on the Clear button at the top of the workstation.

And there you have it! One color cast corrected photo ready to be scrapped!

I hope you have a great week! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the United States and have very safe travels!

See you right back here in a couple of weeks! Happy Scrapping!

Tamara

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