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26 May 2024

Color Cast

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Term: Color Cast
A color cast is a visible color tint to an image, usually referring to one that is unwanted. They occur when white balance is inaccurate or light is contaminated with a color, such as in the instance of bouncing from a colored surface. For example, in an image with a green color cast, neutral tones would have a green tint rather than being truly neutral.If the color cast is due to white balance inaccuracy, it's an easy fix in post-processing software with white balance/tint sliders. If the cast came from lighting, like a flash bounced off a colored surface, shot through a gel, or mixed lighting, it can be a more in-depth fix involving selective color adjustments.

Understanding Color Cast in Photography: Causes, Effects, and Solutions


Color cast is a common issue in photography that can impact the overall color balance of an image. It refers to an unwanted color tint in an image, caused by the light source or camera settings used during the shoot. Understanding color cast is essential for creating accurate and natural-looking images. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, effects, and solutions for color cast in photography.

Causes of Color Cast

The color temperature of a light source is the primary cause of color cast in photography. Different light sources have varying color temperatures, which can result in different color casts. For example, daylight has a color temperature of around 5500K, while tungsten light has a color temperature of around 3200K. Using a tungsten light source in a scene with daylight can result in a yellow or orange color cast in the image.

Camera settings can also affect color cast. For example, using the wrong white balance setting or leaving the camera on auto white balance can result in inaccurate color reproduction.

Effects of Color Cast

Color cast can have a significant impact on the overall color balance of an image, resulting in an image that appears unnatural or unrealistic. Skin tones can be particularly affected, resulting in an image that looks overly yellow, green, or blue. Correcting color cast is essential for creating images that look natural and accurate.

Solutions for Color Cast

There are several solutions for correcting color cast in photography. One solution is manual white balance adjustment. This involves adjusting the white balance settings on the camera to match the color temperature of the light source. Another solution is automatic white balance adjustment, which uses the camera’s built-in algorithms to adjust the white balance settings.

Using color correction gels or filters is another solution for correcting color cast. These gels or filters can be placed over the light source to adjust the color temperature and correct the color cast.

Post-processing techniques can also be used to correct color cast in an image. Tools such as color balance or selective color adjustment can be used to adjust the color balance of an image and correct color cast.

Best Practices for Avoiding Color Cast

To avoid color cast in photography, it’s important to understand the lighting conditions and their impact on color temperature. Shooting in RAW format can also help to avoid color cast, as RAW files contain more color information and are more flexible in post-processing. Using appropriate camera settings and avoiding mixed lighting situations can also help to avoid color cast.


Understanding color cast is essential for creating accurate and natural-looking images. By understanding the causes and effects of color cast, as well as the solutions for correcting it, photographers can improve their images and create more visually engaging photographs. By applying best practices to avoid color cast, photographers can capture the beauty of a scene and create images that are both natural and compelling.

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