White balance correction: how to fix a colour cast
Follow these simple steps using Adobe Camera Raw to get more accurate colour casts.
01 Auto white balance
This shot was taken on a sunny mid-morning but with the white balance set to Shade, so the image has a slight warm cast – it’s more obvious once you’ve corrected it. First, we select Auto from the White Balance menu (the default is As Shot): in this case it warms the image further, which isn’t what we want.
The Cloudy and Shade presets also warm the image, although the Shade preset produces an effect slightly different from the camera setting. The Tungsten preset – shown here – tints the image a deep blue, because ACR thinks it needs to cool down an image that was taken under very warm indoor lighting.
03 Daylight setting
You’d expect the Daylight setting to get you close, and it does. However, the colour temperature of daylight varies considerably with the time of day. The Daylight preset is designed to warm up images taken under midday lighting, so it leaves our mid-morning image still looking a little too warm, with the hint of a magenta cast.
04 White Balance Tool
Clicking with the White Balance Tool on the most prominent diffuse white area – the lift shaft to the right of the car park – cools the image and removes the magenta tint. Fine-tune by eye by moving the Temperature slider to the left to cool the shot or to the right to warm it – push it all the way to the right, for example, and it looks like a late afternoon in summer.