How to Remove the Color Cast in Real Estate Photos

One of the most common challenges real estate photographers face is dealing with unwanted color casts. These unnatural tints can make interiors appear dull, distort the ambiance, and misrepresent the space entirely. 

Whether caused by mixed lighting sources, reflections, or camera settings, color casts can be a major obstacle in producing listings that accurately showcase a home's potential. We’ll explain how to remove color cast from real estate photos so that your photos look professional and clean.

How to Remove Color Cast From Real Estate Photos

Modern cameras' technology can detect changes in lighting, changes in depth, or what most would call depth perception. Cameras also automatically change focus depending on what object they are pointed at.

A house with green landscape

A camera, though, no matter how advanced, does not adjust as fast and perfectly as a human eye. This results in an unwanted tint that washes over the whole picture, usually yellow, orange, or blue. It makes things look unrealistic. 

For instance, a yellow cast might make the walls look dingy. On the other hand, an orange color cast makes everything feel too warm. A giant red couch in the living room can cast a faint red hue on everything around it. 

The Science of Color Casts

The science behind color cast is simple: the camera deviates from accurate color representation. It’s a complex interplay of light, human perception, and camera limitations. The human visual system interprets the reflected light from objects. It then translates it into the perception of color. 

Despite variations in lighting, our brains have color constancy. The human brain perceives the color as relatively consistent under different lighting conditions. For example, you see a white wall under a warm yellow lamp, but your brain says, nope, that wall is still white. 

Cameras, on the other hand, don't have the human brain. They record light using sensors and have a fixed way of seeing things. So, there’s a deviation between what the camera sees or shows in the photo and what you expect to see. 

Causes of Color Cast

The main cause of color cast in real estate photos is the lighting confusing the camera sensor. Let’s get a little deeper. Different light sources have different color temperatures. For instance, the sun emits light with high color temperature, appearing bluish-white. 

On the other hand, incandescent bulbs emit light with a lower color temperature, appearing yellowish-orange. Cameras have settings to adjust for these different lighting conditions, called white balance. When this setting is off, the camera misinterprets the colors, which causes a color imbalance.

Ways to Prevent Color Cast in Real Estate Images

Although there’s a color cast removal option in Photoshop, it’s better to avoid it from the word go. You don’t have to change your camera, though. Let me show you some simple tips that can help avoid it when shooting.

  • Shoot real estate photos during the day with plenty of ambient light coming through windows. Ambient light has a more balanced color temperature. The more ambient light, the better  
  • Avoid using natural and artificial sources like lamps in the same shot. This can create a color clash and cause a color imbalance. 
  • When using artificial lighting alone, minimize mixing different types of light sources. This reduces color temperature inconsistencies. You can also get giant white reflectors or large umbrellas for bouncing flashes if you’re using an external flash 
  • Use a gray card to set the white balance in your camera.

A neutral-colored bedroom with curtains

Color Cast Removal Using Adobe Photoshop

Prevention is better, but it’s not bulletproof. There are still chances you’ll have color cast in your real estate photos. Let us walk you through how you can remove the color cast during post-processing using Adobe Photoshop.

Using the White Balance Tool

The White Balance color cast removal tool targets color casts resulting from incorrect settings in your camera. It’s the best method for global color casts affecting the entire image. 

  1. This method works within the Camera Raw Filter. Go to Filter and choose Camera Raw.
  2. Alternatively, hit the shortcut keys Shift + Ctrl + A on Windows or Shift + Command + A on Mac.
  3. Click on the eyedropper tool and select the neutral area. 
  4. Photoshop will automatically adjust the color balance to achieve a more neutral tone. 

Using Curves Adjustment

This color cast removal method offers the highest degree of control over color correction. Like anything with higher accuracy, this color cast removal method is more technical than the previous click-and-fix eyedropper method.  

  1. Open the real estate photo and duplicate the background by going to Layer and choosing Duplicate
  2. Look for the dominant color tint causing the cast. Figure out whether it’s greenish, reddish or bluish. Go to Image, choose Adjustments, and select Curves.
  3. Select the color channel causing the color imbalance, such as green for a greenish tint and red for a reddish tint. You’re generally deciding what to edit. 
  4. Click on the curve to add a control point in the mid-tone region around the center of the diagonal line.
  5. Drag the mid-tone point downwards slightly. This reduces the influence of the dominant color in mid-tone areas. 

Reasons to Hire Professionals to Remove Color Tints

As a photographer, you’ll be handling large volumes of real estate photos. Let's face it, editing photos takes time. You might not have enough time to find clients, shoot, edit, and deliver the final images to clients.

Remember, removing color casts requires both technical skills and an artistic eye. That's where professional photo editing services come in. It helps you free up time and leverage the expertise of professionals.

A fully furnished living room with lighting and furniture

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Option Helps Us to Remove Color Cast From a Photograph?

The best color cast removal option is to adjust the color settings. You can do this manually or using automatic presets in Photoshop. This helps neutralize the unwanted color tint and get a better color balance. 

How Would We Neutralize an Unwanted Color Cast in a Digital Image?

To neutralize an unwanted color tint in a digital image, identify the dominant color causing the cast. Adjust color correction tools in editing software like Lightroom and Photoshop until the image appears natural and balanced.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to avoid color casts when shooting real estate images. Simply use a gray card to set your camera’s color balance before shooting. Otherwise, use the above steps to remove it in Photoshop. The curves adjustment method will give you the best true-to-life colors.


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