What is Color Correction? An Ultimate Guide for Photographers

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If you are a photographer and you want to know what is color correction, then you have come to the right place. This comes under the photo editing part and photographers use this technique to enhance the appeal of the picture. With the help of color correction, an imperfect and dull picture can be made lively and perfect.

Many people often get confuse between color grading and color correction, but it must be kept in mind that these two are entirely different procedures.

Because they deal with different aspects of an image, though both are used to make the taken pictures better. So the simple difference between these 2 is that Color grading edits the saturation, hue, curves etc. whereas color correction works on the white balance, exposure, and contrast.

What is a color correction?

In the simplest terms, color correction is the process of editing a picture in terms of its colors to make it look better. Many photographers use this technique of color grading in pictures where the makeup has not been done correctly. The flaw in the makeup can easily be made flawless with the help of color correction.

Color Correction Before & After

If you are rather new in the world of photography and want to learn how to color correct images, then you will have to follow certain steps. You can do color correction in Photoshop. The steps that you need to follow are mentioned below. This process of color correction depends on the data received from the image and then working on the given numbers of the image. It is one of the ways that can remove a color case, and it also involves the setting of RGB values.

Step 1

As the beginning step, you will first have to use an image that you think contains color cast. You will have to choose the Info option on window to make the info palette visible. This will give you information regarding the pixels that your image has and in case you are working on a standard photo, you will have an RGB mode visible as well in the upper left-hand side of the dialogue box.

rgb mode photoshop

Step 2

In the next step, you will have to study the information on the image on the palette. In order to do this you will have to create some sample points of color on the selected image. You will have to do this by using the tool of Color Sampler. It shares a toolbar along with Eyedropper. You will have to click the toolbar and then pick up a standard 3*3 sample. This step is important as you will want to use a bigger area than a single pixel offers.

color sampler tool in photoshop

Step 3

Thereafter, you will have to locate a specific spot on the selected image where the color should be white or gray. You will have to click on the tool of color sample, and then you will see a marker will be visible on the image. The marker will have the number of one beside it. You must ensure that you select the specific point that has to be made white or gray. Try to avoid making the mistake of selecting an entire area belonging to the picture that has been blown out like a light spot.

selecting points for color correction

Next step is to to repeat this process again. Select another point in the image that should be white or gray or black. This will provide you with a second number sample. You are allowed to add a total of four markers. Each of these markers has to be placed in such a position of the image that has to be gray or white or black.

Step 4

As the next step, you will have to check your info palette again so that you can see the information of color related to each of the used points. For the points that are the lightest, you will most likely see a value of around 245. For the points that are darkest you can expect a value of 15 related to each of the point.

Step 5

In case your image has some color-related problem you will soon find out that the numbers related to each of the points are not matching with each other. They should at least remain within the range of 2 or 3. If that is not the case then you will have correct the colors of your image. In order to do that you will have to adjust the picture curves belonging to each of the available channels in order to bring the values closer.

You will have to first click on Choose layer, then on New Adjustment Layer, then on Curves and finally on Ok. In this way you will be able to correct each of channels.

new adjustment layer

While adjusting the values on the curves of the image, you will understand that no subjective decision is being taken here. You will be working rather with technicality with the aim of bringing the range of number closer and achieve the targeted value of 15 for a black spot and 245 for a white one.

Step 6

You will again have to repeat the last-mentioned step for all the available sample points, which you have already created on the picture. You will have to follow the same steps for the Blue and Green channels as well so that you can have the sample points that contain values within 2 or 3 numbers of each other.

Step 7

When you are finally done, you will have to click on save to finally close the Curves box & save your work.

final image color correction


Photo color correction happens to be an important part of photo editing. However, it is a rather complex process and would need some practice before it is completely précised. You will have to keep working on your skills, and with each photograph you will understand the technicality better and thus will be able to color correct the images with more accuracy. You will also develop and eye to identify which image needs correcting and which does not.

How important do you think color correction is? Do let me know by commenting below.

Also, if you are looking to outsource photo color correction services, connect with us at info@plexail.com.

Kaushal Bio