Color Correction Using Photoshop

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Here is a great color correction technique that I recently learned while trying to address some haze issues that occurred during our recent trip to Maine. This technique can be used in any of the latest versions of Photoshop (CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5). I’m using CS3, as I am still saving for the upgrade to CS5.

Here is the original, SOOC shot of the Portland Harbor in Maine, taken from the roof-top restaurant of our hotel. As you can see, it’s pretty hazy.

To fix this photo, I clicked on the “create a new fill or adjustment layer” icon on the layers pallette, and chose “levels”. A histogram panel appears. The channel drop-down menu has four options: RGB, Red, Green, and Blue. We are going to make a slight adjustment to each, excluding “RGB”. So, first I selected “red”.

Notice that directly under the histogram, there is a black slider triangle at the left-hand corner. I clicked and dragged this slider to the right, until it lined up with the beginning of the first “hill” on the histogram. Note that the input level numeric indicator now reads “24″ instead of “0″. Also note that the tint of the photograph has changed. Don’t worry, it’ll look more accurate in a minute.

Repeat this process for Green and for Blue, lining the left-hand black slider triangle up to the beginning hill of each histogram.

Here is what the photo looks like after all of the color adjustments:

Better, right? Next I applied a further correction to the white balance. Go to the “RGB” channel of the same screen, and click on the right-hand eyedropper icon (under the “options” button). This is eyedropper for white balance (the one in the middle is for gray, and the one on the left is for black). Since I have an area of this photograph that I know is supposed to be white, I use the eyedropper to click on and “select” that area.

Instantly the photograph’s color and white balance corrects itself:

At this point I flattened the image. Then, I wanted to add some contrast and sharpen the image a bit. I pulled up the “curves” palette by going to Image/Adjustments/Curves. I chose the “Linear Contrast” preset to make a subtle adjustment to the photo.

Finally I sharpened the photo a little bit by going to Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask.

Here is the final photo, with the original shot underneath so you can see the difference:

Thank goodness for Photoshop!

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  • Anon

    The horizon isn't level.


    The earth is round, LOL.

  • Kari Korpihete

    Thank you for your good idea. Regulator CS5 image was greatly improved

  • Anonymous

     so effective post…