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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Color Correction >

Which Color Needs Correcting?

Photographers often have difficulty knowing which color needs correction.

Do the following.


Download the file below.

The file is a Photoshop file (psd), it's large (1MB).


Open the File

Open the color_wheel_with_photofilter_layers.psd file in Photoshop Elements.

Open some of your own photographs, as well.


At the bottom of the layer stack, you'll find a layer containing a color wheel.

Above the Color Wheel layer, there are eight Photofilter adjustment layers.

Cooler Color (80)

Warmer Color (81)

< Green > Magenta

< Magenta > Green

< Yellow > Blue

< Blue > Yellow

< Red > Cyan

< Cyan > Red

Color Wheel

The density of each Photofilter adjustment layer is 25%, the default value.

Most color corrections need far smaller density values.

Color Wheel

What's a color wheel?

If you haven't already, go to Color Wheel.

How to Use the

Photofilter Adjustment Layers

The Photofilter adjustment layers are invisible.

Their eye icons have been deselected.

Choose one of the Photofilter adjustment layers.

Select and deselect, repeatedly, the eye icon for the chosen layer.

As you do so, watch the colors in the Color Wheel layer.

For example, let's say you're experimenting with < Cyan > Red.

When selected, the < Cyan > Red layer:

• Subtracts cyan from the cyan circle.

• Adds red to the red circle.

Cyan and red are complementary colors.

Generally, when you change one, the other is affected.

The colors adjacent to the cyan circle are also affected.

Experiment: Color Wheel

Play with the other Photofilter adjustment layers.

Their eye icons should be deselected—except for the one you're using.

Implement: Your Own Photograph

Move one of your photographs into the Photofilter adjustment layer stack.

Do the following.

1) Make sure the Color Wheel layer is active (highlighted).

2) Go to your photograph.

3) Select the Move tool.

4) Click on the image of your photograph in the middle of your screen, hold, and drag it down to the thumbnail in the project bin/photo bin at the bottom of your screen.

5) Your photograph should be located above the Color Wheel layer, and below the Photofilter adjustment layers.

If it isn't there, move it to that position.

If you haven't already done so, go to Move a Layer.

Now, you can evaluate the color of your own photograph.

Lower the Density Values

As you become more proficient at identifying which color to change, you may want to reduce the density values in the Photofilter adjustment layers from 25% to a lower value.