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Chapter 8. Color Correction > Balancing Your Colors

Balancing Your Colors

To eliminate any color casts that are in your image, you'll need to look for color contamination in the gray areas of your image, and then use that information to help correct the whole image. Three standard areas of your image will usually contain a shade of gray: the brightest area of the image, which is known as the highlight; the darkest area of the image, which is known as the shadow (on most photos, the highlight and shadow areas shouldn't contain color); and a gray object in the image.

Now that we know which areas need to be adjusted, let's go ahead and make the actual adjustment. Start by choosing Image > Adjustments > Curves. We'll be working with all three eyedroppers that show up in the lower right. All three adjust the area you click on so that it ends up with a balanced combination of red, green, and blue, which effectively removes any color contamination for that area. The only difference between the eyedroppers is that the one full of black makes things really, really dark, the eyedropper full of white makes things really bright, and the middle eyedropper doesn't change the brightness of an area. We'll use those to adjust the shadow, highlight, and gray areas, respectively. But we first have to set up things correctly.


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