One Click Trick to Correct Color in Photoshop

Posted on by Larry

I’ve used Photoshop for decades. I’ve taught Photoshop for almost as long. Yet, there are still old and new features to learn. This is one of them.

You probably learned  this trick years ago, but I only discovered it last week: You can instantly correct color casts in Photoshop with a single mouse click! (I mean… who knew???)


Open your image in Photoshop. In this example, I have a seriously green plane.

NOTE: I found this tool is very selective because it samples a very small area. If you don’t get the correction results you expect, Cancel the Levels window, then try again.


This photo, taken by Juliana Stein, isn’t bad, but it leans green. The skin lacks vibrancy.

Using this same technique, open Levels, click the middle eyedropper, then look for something gray or white in the image.

Hmm… there isn’t anything… except, the whites of her eyes. So, I’ll click there.

Poof. Instant fix.

NOTE: Well, actually, while this corrected the color it also oversaturated the image. So I manually lowered the saturation using Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.


I’m not suggesting this technique replaces color grading in your NLE. The NLE does more and provides scopes to measure your results. Still, this can easily fix problems when you need something adjusted quickly.


Here are two more tricks that are very helpful when adjusting levels; especially when you want to actually see what you are adjusting.

Press and hold the Option (Alt in Windows) key while dragging the highlights slider (red arrow).

Photoshop displays only the highlights you are adjusting.

Press and hold the Option (Alt in Windows) key while dragging the shadows slider (red arrow).

Photoshop displays only the shadows you are adjusting.

Very cool.

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5 Responses to One Click Trick to Correct Color in Photoshop

  1. Chad says:

    Thanks Larry! Helpful reminder that I had forgotten.
    Regarding your note in the summary that reads “ I’m not suggesting this technique replaces color grading in your NLE”
    – are you suggesting one would export an image sequence and correct using an action? I edit in Final Cut so I don’t know if there’s any automation related between premiere or something.

    Thank you for your excellent newsletters. Please keep them coming!

    • Larry says:


      No, I’m not suggesting this. For video, we need consistent color changes from one frame to the next. I’ve not found Photoshop to provide that level of consistency. However, for stills, this is fine.

      Both Premiere and Final Cut have one-click color correction. So, if you are working with an image in one of those, there’s no reason to move it to Photoshop simply for color correction.


  2. Dennis Mahaffay says:

    Thanks, Larry. Like you, I didnʻt know this.

  3. Patrick McGough says:

    That ‘Auto’ button in the Levels dialog box is worth trying also. It frequently will give similar or better results. It can always be ‘undone’.

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