Color Correcting by the numbers, or the 90% color correction method

Download these 6 files to correct Click Here


JPG Images (using a levels or curve adjustment layer in Photoshop)
•Download images to the computer
•Open Photoshop
•Open the two images, one with and one without the card
•Open the info panel, make sure it is visible

•Click on the highlight eyedropper in the levels adjustment panel. It is now highlighted and active.
•In the image click on the white square (notice a color change in the image?) OR try the midtone eyedropper.
(You are setting a known neutral value to the white or gray. This will help to rid any color casts from lighting when the image was shot)

•What happens if you click the black point? black square? Experiment and see what looks better. The black point may make the image to contrasty. if so don't use it.
•Now you have a color neutralized image. Whites are whiter, colors are more saturated, and brightness and contrast are improved.

•If needed, you may want to drag the shadow slider to the right finding the point of black in the image.

(Sometimes all you need is the white eyedropper. Sometimes white and black. Sometimes only the midtone eyedropper. The purpose is to neutralize the color cast. This is the goal we are working towards with this project.) Experiment and play. Remember not to lose your shadow or highlight detail. Many times the black eyedropper will alter the contrast too greatly.

Your white eye dropper should be set R245, G245, B245
Your midtone eye dropper should be set R133, G133, B133
Your black eye dropper should be set R7, G7, B7

-Have both images viewable on your monitor. (un-tab them, click and hold on one of the tabs and drag them apart in the window)

•If you shoot many images under the same lighting conditions, one adjustment will work for all. Keep dragging the Adjustment Layer to all files shot under the same conditions.

-Drag the Levels Adjustment layer to the Image without the card.
In the Layers Panel, Click, Hold, Drag the layer to the image without the correction.
Now your correction is in the file without the card

Save the corrected non card file.
Do not save the card corrected file

All .psd or .tif files should be 2160px on the longest side, resolution 240ppi.

Save your layered .psd or tiff files

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)

To open RAW files, click Command "O" from within the Bridge.  Do not use the Camera Raw Filter for this project -found in the filter panel in PS.

For this Project you will use the Camera Raw Icon to open the files.
To open .jpg or Tiff files select the image or images and click the Camera Raw icon (aperture looking icon) from the application bar in the Bridge.

.jpg, TiFF or RAW Files:

•Open Both images from the Bridge into Adobe Camera RAW
•Select Both images (target image 1st, the one with the target)
•Use the White Balance Tool, click on the gray (part of) target.  (with some of the targets you have more than one gray - explore - some will be a warmer tone and others a colder tone - choose the appropriate look for the image)
•You now have neutralized the image.
Finish adjusting the image in ACR, shadows, highlights, whites, clarity, etc! open the corrected non card image in PS
•Select the card image only. Go to the basics tab, flyout menu and reset camera raw defaults for that one image.
•Now at the bottom left of the ACR Window click "Save Image"
•Look for Format and choose "Digital Negative" Leave everything else set to the defaults. Submit the Digital Negative. I will then be able to see the work you did to the file in ACR.

For your personal workflow it is not necessary to chose this option. When you click through and open the file into Photoshop these adjustments will be saved to the file. You will see an icon at the top right of the file in the Bridge indicating the file was processed through ACR. When submitting save the files as a Digital Negative so I can see your work.

VIDEO: White Balance Target, – 3 different cards, check this out!


When Finished working your images in ACR. This is the dialog that appears after you click Save Image in the left bottom corner of the dialog box.

Look for Format and choose Digital Negative.

Download these 6 files to correct Click Here

Turn IN:
3 sets of 2 images

cc1uncorrected - cc1corrected

cc2uncorrected - cc2corrected

cc3uncorrected - cc3corrected

-These can be opened as in ACR or opened into photoshop and a level or a curve adjustment layer applied. If correcting in ACR save as a Digital Negative
-Do not flatten your image if correcting with a level or curve adjustment.
-Image size: 2160 Pixels on the longest side, 240ppi, 8Bit
-Save As a .PSD or a DNG (digital Negative)

TITLEING INFO: please name files:
Last name_First initial_project.extension

Example: smith_m_cc1corrected.psd


Target choices available: these are just a few.

ColorChecker Passport

QPcard 101 is a reference card targeted for professional photographers. It has three
patches with white, gray and black colors. The spectral respons of the three colors is
almost perfect straight, meaning there will be no problems with metamerism at all.
The colors are extremely fade resistant. The main purpose with the card is to use the
gray patch for neutral gray balancing of the image. The gray patch is reflecting 18 %
of the light, making it useful also for exposure purposes. There is a millimeter reference
scale on the card.

Digital Calibration Targets

CGK - Color Target

Opteka Balance Target

Students have tried these and they work, FREE

If shooting for target correction
1) Do not have any reflection or glare on the card.
2) Both image 1, with card, and image 2, without card, must be the exact same exposure.
3) Set appropriate white balance not auto WB
4) Shoot one image with the card, and the second, same image without card.


So you can see there are many options for a target. something you may want to purchase and explore on your own. For this project I will give you the images to use.