Fixing a Localized Color Cast using Photoshop

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Fixing a Localized Color Cast using Photoshop


I have a special treat for you today.  I usually do all of my own Photoshop tutorials on the blog.  But there are usually 5-10 ways or more to accomplish any one task or result in Photoshop. And once I have a particular way(s) that works for me, that is what I teach you.  So every once in a while I would love to post a guest Photoshop tutorial for a fresh perspective and new twist. 

If you ever have one you want to share, contact me at

Today’s tutorial is by David S. Rosen.  He will be teaching you one way to eliminate that nasty localized color cast problems. I tried this on a few photos – it worked really well on photos with light isolated color problems, but a few with super deep casts it needed a few more steps (with blending and working in curves) or some other heavy duty work.

I hope this will help you fix some of your color casts.  For many more “Color Correction Tricks” check out my “Color Fixing” online group workshops.


Fixing a Localized Color Cast

Not 100% sure where I first learned this…. I think it was from Katrin Eismann. This method works great on localized color casts on the skin.
Here’s the problem. You can see the awful green cast on her nose, on the side of her face, and in her hair caused by the trees she was standing in. When I first took this photo, I couldn’t fix this in a way that satisfied me and I only showed it in B&W.



We’ll start with the nose. I make a rough selection around the area to be corrected and feather the selection. In CS4 (and CS3), I feather with the “Refine Edges” dialog. In earlier versions of PS, just choose “feather” from the “Select” menu.



Next, I’ll create a new Hue/Sat layer. Because I’ve already made a selection, the hue/sat layer opens up with a layer mask which can be adjusted later if needed. In the Hue/Sat dialog, I choose the color closest to the cast I am correcting. Here I chose “Greens” (1). Next, I use the eyedropper (2) to make a selection squarely in the area with the color cast (3). The color range (circled) will reflect your selection.



   Next…. Choose the “minus” eyedropper (1). Click in an area where the skin looks as you would like it to look once it is corrected (2). What you are telling PS to do is to narrow down that original color you chose by subtracting out the normal color from the color of the cast, leaving only the cast behind. You’ll see the color range narrow as you subtract out the “normal” color.




OK. Here’s where it get’s cool. First use the saturation slider (1) to bring down the saturation of the color cast. You have to do this by eye. I usually wind up in the -10 to -30 range. If you go too far, the area will start to go gray on you…. just come back up again. Next, use the hue slider (2) to fine-tune the color you are seeing. Again, done by eye. Lastly, you may want to play with the lightness slider just a bit. I will often shift back to the “Master” channel before doing this. Look! No more color cast!




Did exactly the same thing with four other selections and hue/stat layers to fix the neck, the hair, and the side of the face. Because each of these adjustments is on a separate layer, you can adjust the opacity for each separately, you can go back and tweak the adjustments, and you can even go back and fine-tune your mask if necessary.



And here’s the final product!


Once you’ve done this a few times, you can correct a localized color cast in just a minute or two. Hope this helps a few folks!

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  1. Tracy Y H
    May 16, 2009 at 11:49 am —

    Wow, thanks for the great tip!

  2. May 14, 2009 at 1:34 am —

    Thanks so much for the tip! This one is great and I’m so glad I flipped back over the days I’ve missed with the past little while being so crazy busy for me.

  3. May 9, 2009 at 12:44 am —

    Thanks so much for the helpful advice! I only have PSE 6, but I can make it work there too. I cannot wait to own a version of CS so that I can get some of your fabulous action sets!

  4. May 6, 2009 at 9:37 am —

    Mmmm – I do the exact thing with teeth but never thought to use it for anything else. Thanks!

  5. MariaV
    May 6, 2009 at 7:43 am —

    Great tip. Thank you, David.

  6. May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm —

    This was totally awesome!! I had a photo that had a bad color cast from a bright pink pettyskirt and this worked great!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  7. May 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm —

    THANK YOU!!! I just did a 3 week old baby and she had red and yellow color casts on her from the bright cushion she was laying on! I was just trying to figure out how to fix it and hoila! Thanks to you, she’s fixed!! THANK YOU DAVID!!!

  8. May 5, 2009 at 1:10 pm —

    This is awesome, I need to try it!!

  9. Conni
    May 5, 2009 at 10:46 am —

    Wow this is the best tutorial on this I’ve seen yet! Thanks for sharing!

  10. May 5, 2009 at 10:41 am —

    If only I’d had this information sooner, I could have spent MUCH less time tweaking some photo’s for a client who go married at their house in a barn and hung (say it with me, ughhhh) blue tarps to cover the horse stalls. I almost told them right then and there that they could forget any good photos from the ceremony! Thanks, Jodi for sharing such great info!

  11. May 5, 2009 at 10:08 am —

    I love learning new ways to do the same thing — thanks for sharing his technique!

  12. May 5, 2009 at 10:07 am —

    Thanks so much! This comes at the perfect time! I’ve been searching on how to fix color casts from a recent session… let’s just say what I was doing was taking wayyy longer! This is great 😀

  13. May 5, 2009 at 9:11 am —

    Thanks for this tip.. I have some horrible color casts on a recent photo session..I am hoping this does the trick!!

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Fixing a Localized Color Cast using Photoshop