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Chapter 9. Improve Your Photos > Correcting Color Shifts

Correcting Color Shifts

Red still looks like red when we go from the bright outdoors to a dim room or to an office with fluorescent lights. But the shade of red has altered, because the light that hits it no longer has the full spectrum of color. We don't notice, because our brain and eyes adjust and shift all colors equally. But the camera lens doesn't. If the color has shifted because of the type of illumination in a room, the camera will capture the shifted colors. For example, interior incandescent light shifts colors toward the warmer tones of red and yellow. Fluorescents, on the other hand, tend to shift toward the blue and green. People in photographs taken under these different types of light tend to look a little softer and rosier in incandescent, and a little more pale and cadaverous in a typical office photo. The effect of these color shifts can ruin an otherwise well composed and photographed image.

Using Hue/Saturation

It's possible to use the Hue/Saturation slider to fix color shift problems. But how possible depends on the depth of options your image-editing program offers. The most common Hue/Saturation tool works on the entire image and all its channels at once. The problem, of course, is much the same as using the Brightness/Contrast slider: it's all or nothing (Figure 9.4).


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