Learn how to easily adjust the hues and tones of your Photoshop document using the Color Balance and Photo Filter adjustments.

Color balance can be used to correct color imperfections in your image. You can also use color balance to create dramatic effects by changing the overall mixture of colors used in your composite. Photo Filter is another option that lets you apply a hue adjustment to your image. Photo Filter adjustments mimic the technique of placing a colored filter in front of your camera lens to adjust the color balance and temperature of the light transmitted through the lens and exposing the film. 

Applying both Color Balance and Photo Filter as adjustment layers is a more flexible method to work with them because it gives you the ability to readjust the settings, creates a layer mask to affect a part of an image, and protects the original image from direct changes.

Apply color balance adjustments

In Photoshop, you can access the color balance adjustment option from any of the following locations: 

  • In the Adjustments panel, click the Color Balance () icon.
  • Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance. Click OK in the New Layer dialog box.
  • In the Layers panel, click Create new fill or adjustment layer () icon. Select Color Balance from the context menu options.
  • You can also choose Image > Adjustments > Color Balance. However, this method applies destructive adjustments to the image layer and discards image information due to which you cannot restore the original image.

Once you select the color balance option, do the following:

  1. In the Properties panel that opens, select any of the Tone balance options— Shadows, Midtones, or Highlights to select the tonal range in which you want to focus your edits.

    Color balance properties panel
    Color balance Properties panel: Go to Adjustments panel, and click the Color Balance icon.
    color balance in photoshop
    Color Balance dialog: Select Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance
  2. (Optional) Select Preserve Luminosity to prevent changing the luminosity values in the image while changing the color. By default, this option is enabled to maintain the overall tonal balance in your image.

  3. Move the Cyan/Red, Magenta/Green, or Yellow/Blue slider toward a color that you want to add to the image; drag the slider away from a color that you want to subtract from the image. The values displayed above the sliders, show the color changes for red, green, and blue channels. These values can range from ‑100 to +100. You can directly view the adjustments being applied to your image while moving the sliders.

Apply color balance adjustments
Move the color balance sliders to view applied adjustments to your image in Photoshop.

Change color balance using Photo Filter

You can access the Photo Filter option from any of the following locations: 

  • In the Adjustments panel, click the Photo Filter icon () icon.
  • Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. Click OK in the New Layer dialog box.
  • You can also choose Image > Adjustments > Photo Filter. However, this method applies destructive adjustments to the image layer and discards image information due to which you cannot restore the original image.

Once you select the Photo Filter option, do the following:

  1. In the Properties panel that opens, you can either choose a preset filter or apply a custom color filter:

    • Filter: For a preset filter, select the Filter option and choose one of the presets from the drop-down list.
    • Color: For a custom filter, select the Color option. Click the color square, and use the Adobe Color Picker to specify a color for a custom color filter.
    Photo filter
  2. To adjust the amount of color applied to the image, use the Density slider, or manually enter a percentage in the Density box. A higher density results in a stronger color adjustment.

  3. (Optional) Select Preserve Luminosity to prevent changing the luminosity values in the image while changing the color. By default, this option is enabled to maintain the overall tonal balance in your image.

  4. Enable Preview to view your edits on your image. Click OK to apply changes and Cancel to exit the Photo Filter dialog.

Apply color balance using Photo Filter
Apply preset photo filters or adjust settings for custom color filters to enhance your image using the Photo Filter adjustment.