How to Remove the Color Cast in Real Estate Photos?

Owning a camera and learning how to capture photos is the basic and foremost skill that propels your career in real estate photography. The technology infused in modern cameras are able to detect changes in lighting. They are able to detect changes in depth or what most would call having depth perception. Cameras would have an auto change of focus depending on what object it is pointed at to sharpen the image. A camera though, no matter how advanced nor packed with bells and whistles, will not adjust as fast and perfect compared to the human eye. Such imperfections that arise are differences in colors, distortions in straight edges, and more often than not, dominant or incandescent color casts.

Focusing on removing real estate image color casts is already a step in successfully enhancing the photo. The end goal is to produce the image in a way that it represents the photo as if the property were being viewed by the eyes of a visiting person on site. Hence, real estate image color cast removal is essential in contributing to the overall editing process, ensuring that this flaw is corrected. Remember though, that removing color casts is not a one step job. It is a combination of knowledge about color and know-how on computer aided editing software. Real estate image color cast removal relies on the spectrum colors of white which is a combination of a multitude of colors. Striking the balance and ensuring that no single color dominates all the others is a good step to understand what this phenomenon is.

What is Color Cast and What Causes it?

A color cast is simply an unwanted hue or tint of color that dominates the image. It is a result of light bouncing off a very strong color which the camera picks up. Unlike the human eye, the camera does not instantly nor has the perfect capability to balance all the colors once it picks up the dominant hue unless there is a manual intervention during the shoot.

Some of the causes of color casts are highly contrasting and bright colors. If in a mix of photos, the interior of the property has a very bright orange chair, then most likely it will be the culprit of the color cast. Another reason is the direction and source of light. Check to see if there are sources of light that impact the photo and if manipulating the amount and direction can change that. Sunlight often becomes a source of color cast. When the influx of sunlight through a window is too bright the camera may pick up a yellowish tint therefore making it the overall tone of the image.

How Do You Remove Color Cast?

While these are oftentimes inevitable, there is no need to worry. There are a handful of techniques and methods to correct this flaw so that you need to keep on adjusting at the photo shoot stage. Removing real estate image color casts will of course require the use of computer aided software. Utilizing such developments such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are sure fire ways to get the color cast removal process started. Do take note however, that removing real estate image color cast does not happen in one click of a button. It is a combination of several techniques that ultimately result into the improvement of the color cast whose adjustments need to be mixed together.

Here are some tips and different ways on how to remove color casts:

  1. The easiest and most straightforward method is presented by Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop provides a color cast removal option that will allow you to indicate which parts of the photo need correction. A dropper tool will appear to help locate the area desired. Usually, it is the entire photo that is covered in color cast, so pointing that icon anywhere should work. From there, the entire image will change and save or continue to adjust based on your liking.
  2. The second method for real estate image color cast removal presents a more complex step by step procedure. Adobe Photoshop calls it the method of Levels. This requires adding a layer and adjusting the color tones of RGB to counter the current color cast. It may be tricky in a sense that red corresponds to the spectrum of red and cyan, green plays between green and magenta, and blue helps adjust the colorway between blue and yellow. A degree of adjustment from each color will strike a balance to get rid of the dominant color cast thereby achieving a clear photo.
  3. Should the method of Levels be too difficult in terms of looking for the sweet spot, perhaps you can try shifting to white balance correction. If the auto white balance feature in the camera fails because of its difficulty in actually balancing the reflections of the colors, editing can still mop up the job. This can be found in the images tab, select adjustments and go to color balance.

Using these methods alone will not always produce the same result. The intensity of the color cast will surface as one method will fail to complete eliminate the unwanted hue. Therefore, trying to work with several options one after the other will help achieve the desired balance.


There can be successful attempts at avoiding color casts but there are also the moments that don’t. Luckily, removing real estate image color casts is a foundational skill and technique in image enhancement. The concept of color is important to understand as the goal to achieve a clear photo with a naturally white tint requires a balance between several colors. Real estate image color cast removal relies heavily on this concept and the need to edit and to correct such imperfection arises from the inability of cameras to detect and balance the light all around given there are different sources available. Moreover, it is a process that photographers and editors alike must master and embed in their system in order to ensure consistent quality of photos flowing to the client. Needless to say, real estate image color cast removal is non-negotiable and a must in every post-processing session.


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