You could probably learn about a new Photoshop feature every day for the rest of your life and still not cover them all. That’s what makes Photoshop such an incredibly powerful program that’s considered an industry standard for all types of commercial creative work. Life’s certainties are death, taxes, and Photoshop’s consistent ability to pop up with something new to change your workflow for the better, no matter how long you’ve been a user.

This brings us to today’s tip for fast and easy color correction. There are so many hiding-in-plain-sight options that are so often overlooked. An instrumental one, buried in a settings menu, is the ability to choose which algorithm you want Photoshop to apply for automatic adjustments on Curves and Levels layers. 

Jesús Ramirez of the Photoshop Training Channel’s video contains an excellent breakdown of how and why to take control of this useful feature. We’ll cover the steps, but check out Ramirez’s tutorial for an explanation of what each option actually does.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open your document with imperfect color in Photoshop.
  2. Create a Curves or Levels layer.
  3. In the adjustment panel, navigate to the menu found in the top right, indicated by a small icon with four stacked lines.
  4. Once in the menu, choose “Auto Options…
  5. You will see four algorithm choices. Ramirez recommends using “Find Dark And Light Colors” and checking the “Snap Neutral Midtones” box. This will apply the selected algorithmic adjustment to your image.
  6. To use this algorithm by default on future layers, check the “Save as defaults” box.
  7. If your image still isn’t quite right after the prior steps, in a Curves layer, use the middle “gray point” eyedropper, found in the adjustment panel to the left, to sample a place in your image that should be neutral gray.

[Rewind:] Photoshop Tips | How To Use The Color Picker Tool

You can access the Auto Options screen even more quickly by holding alt/option while and clicking the “Auto” button in the adjustment panel.

To watch a demo of the technique, watch the video below.