The original image has a strong green cast.

The original image has a strong green cast.

You’re looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Or maybe they’re some other color. Whatever the color, it’s casting its hue over your entire image. Here I will tell you a quick, nifty trick for getting rid of it.

Take the photo above, taken with a film camera in ancient times in Mixco, Guatemala. The little boy is Felipe, the gardener’s son, and behind him is the  duplex casita that we shared with his family. As you can see, the photo has a strong green cast.

One thing you can do is simply use Photoshop’s “auto color” feature. (I use Photoshop but similar features are available in Lightroom and other programs.) It gives pretty good results with just a single click, though the green cast is not entirely removed.

Single-click Photoshop auto color correction.

Single-click Photoshop auto color correction.

You could also adjust the hue/saturation sliders for the various colors, or the color balance sliders. Here I have adjusted the color balance sliders moving green toward magenta blue toward yellow and cyan toward red (I also applied auto contrast). The shadows no longer look so green, but Felipe’s shirt is a little red.

The image corrected with color balance sliders.

The image corrected with color balance sliders.

There are other methods you can use. If you want to really take your time to fix the image you can go into the channel mixer and adjust each channel’s levels and curves. But for a quick fix that is sometimes effective try this:

  1. Duplicate the background layer
  2. Apply filter -> blur -> average
  3. Invert the averaged layer (image -> adjust -> invert)
  4. Adjust the opacity of the new layer over the background (original) with “color” or “hue” as the mode
Left: result of average blur. Right: the result inverted.

Left: result of average blur: this is the color cast. Right: the result inverted: this color will neutralize the cast.

The result is color corrected but a little flat, so I apply auto contrast or other adjustments. The final image is not great …

The corrected image.

The corrected image.

… but it’s a big improvement over the original.

Before and after.

Before and after.