One of the easiest ways to eliminate color casts is to eliminate the color! Ok maybe you think that’s cheating but sometime a monochrome image is just what you need to focus the attention on the subject and not the colors. And monochrome doesn’t have to mean “black & white.” One of it’s classic definitions is “A picture done in different shades of a single color,” which in the photo world often means toning. Here’s way to produce a monochrome image that takes a color image and transforms it into a more dynamic color photograph—at least I hope you agree.
Here is the original and unretouched JPEG file. It was made with a Canon EOS 10D and EF 28-105mm lens. My EXIF data shows that flash was used but other than a tiny catchlight in the subject’s eyes, there appears to be no other effect of using the flash.
Below, the image has been cropped and I used a Selection tools to Copy, Paste, and them rotate the model’s head to make it appear more square to the camera. Then I cropped into a shape that would fit a book cover format, then photograph was retouched using Clone. Healing Brush, and the underutilized Dodge and Burn tools.
Next, I converted the photograph into black and white using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro, which created the first layer (working from bottom to top.) Then I uses Nik’s Color Stylizer filter that’s part of the Color Efex Pro packages. This was followed up with the Glamour Glow filter that’s part of the Color Efex Pro Complete Edition. Because all of the effects are applied to different layers, you can vary the intensity of each one to produce your personally desired effect. I turned off the Background (color) layer because I wanted to use the black and white version for the basis of the final images.
In the final image, the subject’s red hair and color outfit have been controlled allowing the viewer to focus on her beautiful face. Once you start retouching, especially at higher magnifications, you begin see little details that you want to improve but sooner or later you have to quit. I have a 20-minute rule: If the finished photograph isn’t the way I want it to look after 20 minutes, it’s never going to satisfy me so I start again with another image.