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Eliminate color problems in your images with Match Color

Added on Wednesday 2nd of November 2011 03:28 am EST

by Michelle Dick
Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5
Operating Systems:
Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

Trying to make an action for color adjustments when you want multiple images to look consistent is never a quick and easy task. Whether you are toning several images for a single layout or color correcting one image, Photoshop’s Match Color command can make color correction quick and painless. For fast color adjustments that can be made without a lot of fuss, you’ll find Match Color is the matchmaker you can’t live without.


To help you master the Match Color tool, we’ll:

  • Show you how to use the Match Color command to quickly color correct single images.
  • Review options in the Match Color dialog box so you can fine tune your color corrected images.
  • Discuss how you can match the color of a series of images for consistent tonal values.
  • Explain how to make adjustments to selected portions of your imagery.


There are three reasons why you might use the Match Color command. One is to remove a color cast from an image; the other is to make the colors in a series of images look consistent; the last is to match the color of a specific area to a selected area of another image.

  • To remove a color cast from a single image you can adjust tonal values within an image by adjusting its luminance and color intensity.
  • To adjust a series of photos for a consistent look requires using source and target images, which can be single images on separate layers or separate images.
  • To adjust the color of a specific area in an image, select the area in the source and apply the color values in that area to a selected area in the target.


Let’s explore all of these options. We’ll begin by explaining how to use the Match Color command to remove colorcasts from an image. To follow along with us, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article and extract the files golfer.jpg, pale.jpg, and tan.jpg. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.) To begin, we’ll color correct the image golfer.jpg shown in Figure A. As you can see, the image has a green-yellow color cast to it that needs to be eliminated.


To correct the color of a single image using Color Match:

  1. Open the RGB image in Photoshop that is in need of color correcting (this feature is not available when working in CMYK mode).
  2. Choose Image > Adjustments > Match Color to display the Match Color dialog box, shown in Figure B.


In the Match Color dialog box you can adjust the luminance and intensity of the colors within an image.


Note: When making adjustments in a single image, you’ll work in the Image Options area of the dialog box. The Image Statistics area is where you can specify a source image to base your changes on. We’ll cover this portion of the dialog box later in the article.

A young woman considers her shot on the putting green of a golf course.  Model Released.




To remove unwanted color casts using the Color Match command:

  1. Select the Neutralize checkbox. Photoshop automatically balances out the dominant color with its counterpart. Figure C shows how our image went from green-yellow to more of a purple-pink hue.
  2. Drag the Fade slider to the right at the 75 position to tone down and neutralize the applied color.

A young woman considers her shot on the putting green of a golf course.  Model Released.



Fine-tune the color cast


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