How to Get Rid of Color Cast in Flash Photography

When working with flash, one technique is to bounce it off the walls and ceiling instead of pointing it directly at the subject. This method prevents harsh shadows and hot spots. However, color cast can be a real issue if you’re not careful. As the flash bounces off the walls, the color of the wall can be cast on your subject resulting in inaccurate colors. Andrew Boey from Beyond Photography explains how to solve this problem:

To demonstrate the issue, Boey takes an image of a model using flash in a room with green walls. As you can see, the model’s skin takes on a greenish hue, and all the colors in the rest of the photo look totally off.

portrait with green color cast

Green Color Cast

Boey’s solution is to tackle the color casting issue using the White Balance Shift option found in his camera menu. Since the option may vary depending on camera model, it is suggested that you either go through your camera menu thoroughly to find it or refer to your camera manual.

white balance shift chart canon

Since the image has a green color cast, Boey shifts the white balance to the opposite of green: red.

white balance compensation to remove color cast

With all other settings remaining the same, Boey takes another picture of the model and here is the result:

remove color cast with white balance shift

After White Balance Shift

You can see that the image looks so much more natural straight out of the camera. Similarly, if you happen to have a red color cast, the trick is to bias the white balance toward green.

You may argue that by shooting in RAW, you can easily fix the color cast in post. And that is true. But using this option is really useful when you need to deliver quick results and when you’re shooting in JPEG. Moreover, if you want to add a creative filter to your images, this can be another way to do it.

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One response to “How to Get Rid of Color Cast in Flash Photography”

  1. I just want to thank you so much for this article, as a photographer, I take a lot of green screens images and I usually set up a custom white balance, but this is a good tip to know.

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