I am attempting to retrieve extremely strangely colour cast photos for some friends. These are from an overseas trip and they would value their availability in something like correct colours. The photos are generally not overly marvellous photographically but represent valued memories for their owners.

While I can usually manage 'half decent' colour corrections from quite badly "colour debalanced" shots I am in this case not able to achieve the sort of results I'd like to.

While the result may well be due to "camera run amok" than bad white balance settings, as I'd first thought, I'd appreciate any suggestions re colour correction.

A small selection of samples is shown in this album.
Here are the same photos in original format (dropbox store)

Typical example:

enter image description here


enter image description here

A look at the histograms has made me wonder if a 'correction that applies a gain step at the transition points such that the curve is continuius may fix the problem.


Notes / details:

A friend who uses a combined video/stills camera (Panasonic HC-V110) in "point & shoot" mode had a large number of photos from an overseas trip badly affected by what looks like severely incorrect colour balance setting. Only jpgs are available (as would be expected).

In many cases the histograms for all channels look very unusual with "chunks missing" and/or sudden large steps in level.

I'd be inclined to suspect camera error rather than a severe colour balance offset. However, 'playing' with settings while investigating colour balance settings returned the camera to normal operation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, providing examples via facebook obliterates a lot of information, some of which may be useful... you might get better answers if you can provide at least one sample in its original form. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 25, 2016 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @junkyardsparkle I've added a link to Dropbox copies of the originals. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2016 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, the histogram of the green channel you posted only looks that way for a few of the pictures uploaded. For most of them, the green channel is completely blown out. \$\endgroup\$
    – D. Jurcau
    Jun 26, 2016 at 14:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The EXIF info from the original files indicates that the white balance was manually set to "tungsten" for the pictures. :/ \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2016 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @junkyardsparkle My original impression was that it was a bad colour-balance problem, but I've had far more success in correcting such in other cases than I've had with these, for whatever reason. It COULD just be a manual CD set plus extreme over-exposure pushing green to almost fully saturated in some cases. However, a significant number of photos have histograms with sudden very sharp steps in level and/or complete clean gaps with signal = 0 at some places only in the histograms. AFAIR I have not ever seen this sort of effect in OOC images. ... \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2016 at 8:51

3 Answers 3


Sadly, there's not much useful color information in the pictures to work with. This is probably not remotely the answer you were hoping for, but...

Being a fan of the old tinted postcard look, if these were my pictures I would probably try to emulate that, as an alternative to going full monochrome. How to do this will depend on your choice of software, but the example below was done quickly (that is, without any "painting" type operations, and hence could be applied as a template to any number of similar shots of the scene) in darktable using the color correction and color contrast modules as shown, and then adding a blue-tinted graduated density filter to counteract the resulting yellowish sky... I don't know if the result would resonate any better with your friend's memories of the scene, but I find it a little easier on the eyes, at least.

enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here


You have severe color clipping in all 3 channels. The red channel is the least damaged, so I'd use it to create a black-and-white rendition of the scene.

For these examples I started with the full size original and did the following:

  • Took the red channel at 100% and the green and blue channels at 0% to make a grayscale image.
  • Used Curves to darken the blacks a little.
  • Used Paint Shop Pro's Clarify to enhance the contrast.
  • Did some USM sharpening.
  • Resized down to web size.
  • Applied another minor USM sharpening.

enter image description here enter image description here

As for how a camera could produce these images, I have no idea. This is much worse than a typical white balance problem, with over exposure thrown in for good measure.


Best I could so in Adobe Camera Raw. Removed most if not all vibranceand tweaked balence and saturation from there.

Corrected version

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you give a little more detail on what you did to achieve this? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Apr 30, 2018 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Used ACR and removed amost all Viberance as noted above which expands the neutral column and the increased saturation to compensate. Then adjusted white balance and added vignettes for balance and weight in the forground and sky \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2018 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's rather good. Reasonably wrong - but rather good :-). \$\endgroup\$ May 2, 2018 at 5:42

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