The Easiest and Most Efficient Way to Color Correct Any Image

White balancing shots is not always as easy of a task as it seems. Sometimes, a gray card cannot be used, other times the lighting is too poor and the colors don’t come out perfectly. However, Blake Rudis from f64 Academy has found an extremely efficient and quick solution to color correct any shots in three easy steps.

Rudis shows us in the video above how he color corrects his shots with a very simple process. He does it in Adobe Camera Raw, but the principles would remain similar no matter what software you use to process your raw files — only the sliders name would change. For example, vibrance would be saturation in Capture One.

The first step of his process is to crank up the vibrance until the dominant color can be identified. Then, he moves on to the second part which is simply neutralizing that color with the white balance tool. He starts with the temperature and then adjusts the tint. Finally, he brings the vibrance back down to normal, and the file is ready for additional adjustments.

Obviously, you could go even further and use local adjustments to make the whole picture neutral. In the second image Rudis uses to demo the technique, you can clearly see that the settings used are kind of a compromise between the streets and the building lights. Using the same technique but local adjustments instead of global ones would yield a more refined look, although less real.

What do you think of this technique? Do you use any other trick to color correct your images quickly and efficiently? I’d love to hear your process in the comments below.

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19 Comments
Bill Merritt's picture

Thank you Quentin and Blake. Appreciate the tip. Well done. Going to try it in LR and see how it works there.

Blake Rudis's picture

I hope it fairs you well!

Oleh Brevus's picture

it is simly and awasome !!! will try this in C1 as soon as possible.

Blake Rudis's picture

Sweet! Looking forward to see if it worked as well there.

wesjones's picture

Going to give this a try! Thanks.

Blake Rudis's picture

Glad I could help :)

Henry Canyons's picture

Just tried the tip on an image shot w/o a gray card...and it worked. Thanks for the tip...I'll check out your website.

Blake Rudis's picture

Thank you! I appreciate it. Come on by, lots of fun tutorials over there :)

Blake Rudis's picture

Thank you very much for sharing Quentin and fstoppers. I really appreciate it!

Emil Stanev's picture

Ian Norman showed the same technique few years ago in one of his videos on how to shoot the Milky Way and to set properly the white balance.

Dave McDermott's picture

Very simple and useful tip. I just had a look at Blake's Youtube channel. Some great tutorials that are easy to understand.

Teo Lab's picture

Thanks for the tip as well !

David Mawson's picture

I'll be fascinated to see if this works with the absolute case - Sigma Foveon raws processed through any tool except Sigma's own.

antoine amanieux's picture

thanks for sharing this tip, it looks very algorithmic friendly isn't there already any existing function doing something similar (auto color, auto tone ?)

Dave Yuhas's picture

What was never explained is why "slamming the vibrance" shows the "dominant color."

Leigh Smith's picture

Only critique, is that I would use saturation not vibrance. It's my understanding that vibrance protects skins tones, so you wouldn't get an accurate color cast from that.

Christian Berens's picture

That's a pretty good trick
thanks!

Daniel Zinato's picture

Simple and very useful tip/trick. Especially for me that struggle with some level of colorblindness. Thanks!

Geoff Bartlett's picture

Where was this six months ago when I had a colour-balance nightmare? :)
Thank you for this new tool