Judging your Color in Photoshop and Digital Printing

photoshop color wheel

“The color in my print doesn’t look right … ”

How many of us have heard this from other photographers, or have said this about our own prints? Let’s go over some basic of Color – then you can color correct with more confidence and accuracy!

So what is Color? The dictionary defines it as the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light.

Three more definitions: Hue is a single color cast or color name, Saturation is the amount, intensity or purity of a Hue, and Color Correction is correcting an imbalance in the color cast(s) of an image.

Let’s also introduce you to the primary colors – Red, Green and Blue – and their corresponding opposite (complementary) colors – Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. A simple example: To correct for an image with an overall blue cast, you would add it’s opposite (complimentary) color to bring the color balance back to where it needs to be – in this case, add Yellow to correct a Blue cast. You can use the “Color Wheel” above to help you with this.

A very important tip: When judging for proper color balance in your print, look for “neutrals”, such as white or grays – correct those colors, and the rest of your print will generally fall into place.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you have an image of your house, which has white shutters. Look at the sidewalks (gray) or the shutters (white) – correct those, and the rest of the overall color balance will typically fall into place.

How about you? Got any color correction tips to share? Let’s hear them!


John 🙂

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