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2,862 Tutorials

How to correct white balance after you have taken a photo

Fix your photos: display natural colours

Correctly using white balance means that photos record and reproduce the correct, natural colours. Here's how to correct colours after you have taken a photo using photo-editing software.

To record natural colours, a camera needs to know what type of light is used for the illumination. If the camera assumes daylight but you're using artificial light, the scene will have a yellowish cast. If conditions are the opposite way around, your photo will look too blue.

In order to prevent this it's necessary to use a feature called white balance. The camera's automatic setting will normally do the trick, but you should understand how to set it when it's fooled.

It's best to keep your camera set to auto white balance because if you leave it on the wrong setting (e.g. fluorescent light when you're shooting in daylight) the end result will be way off.

To fix this after the fact, select the Home tab and choose ‘Color Curves' from the ‘Bright, Color' menu. Describing how to use this tool is tricky so just try it out to get the hang of it.

Here are some tips, though. In the Curves dialogue box, ensure that just the colour or colours you want to adjust are selected at the bottom. To correct a blue cast reduce blue and perhaps increase red and green; for a yellowish cast, reduce red and green and increase blue. With the appropriate colours selected, try dragging the curve until you get the desired effect and repeat for other colours if necessary.

Colour curves is the most flexible method but you could also try ‘White Balance' and ‘Remove Color Cast', also in the 'Bright, Color' menu.

This article is part of our Fix your photos for free feature, and uses the free Photoscape image editor from www.photoscape.org. The principles apply to other image editing software, but the steps below explain how to achieve the fix in Photoscape.

Correcting colour in photos: before and after

Colour editing

You can use Photoscape to improve colour in your shot after you've taken it...

Colour editing

...turning this...

Colour editing

...into this

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