I have taken photos of a church organ console with a digital camera, but the lighting conditions were very low. That's why I used an umbrella + daylight fluorescent bulb (from a kit similar to this Neewer 600W 5500K kit).

But I find the wood parts quite dull (too "white" because of bulb?):

dull wood

The colours are very sad, whereas I expected something like this (it was nearly like this in reality):

enter image description here


  1. What would you do to recover these beautiful lively colors? (here is a link to the dull image, just in case you want to try)

  2. In general I always find the colors of photos shot with a daylight fluorescent spiral lightbulb quite cold / depressing. Did you have the same experience?

PS: I do own a XRite colorchecker, I should have used it, and I should have shot in RAW, but too late now...

  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your questions about fluorescent lighting, see, for instance, Why is the Fluorescent filter for a flash green?. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 19:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what white balance is for. You can still edit the white balance of a .jpeg in various pieces of software; it just won't be as faithful as RAW would have been. \$\endgroup\$
    – Myridium
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like the image you uploaded was tightly cropped for purposes of this question. Please upload the actual entire image you took. From the little I can tell from the crop, it looks like lighting technique is also part of the problem, and we can't make good recommendations unless we see the scene in context. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 20:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In addition to the problems of white balance, you might also be a victim of metameric failure. Fluorescent bulbs do not have a very even spectrum of light output, so there's an interaction between the frequencies emitted by the bulb and the frequencies absorbed by the subject. If you have a choice, use bulbs with a high CRI factor. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 21:59

4 Answers 4


It is possible to correct colors if you have the proper software. Here's the result I obtained with Paint Shop Pro version 9, which is over 10 years old by now. Unfortunately the Manual Color Correction function that I used was deprecated around that time, so I don't know if it's still available in modern versions. I simply left-clicked on a representative area of the image, and right-clicked on a similar area in your reference image; it only took a few seconds.

enter image description here

I often use this function to do white balance corrections and it's able to do magic. Starting with RAW would be better, but this is often adequate.

Edit: I was asked to show the settings, so here it is in action. There's not much to it, many of the controls are disabled in manual mode and everything in the upper half is for controlling presets and the preview.

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very nice method! do you know if it exists in Photos hop? if not can you do a screenshot of the settings in psp? \$\endgroup\$
    – Basj
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 8:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which version did you use (fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corel_Paint_Shop_Pro#Histoire see "Historique des versions")? Version 9 from Jasc Software or was it from Corel already? I'll try to find an old version on ebay. \$\endgroup\$
    – Basj
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 10:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Basj the Jasc version. Later versions might still have it, some of the removed commands could be restored by customizing the menus and adding it back in. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I found it here but the installer asks for a Trial serial, but I don't think it's possible anymore to get a trial serial (nor a real paid serial probably) from Corel... How do you do yourself? \$\endgroup\$
    – Basj
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Basj I've had mine for a long time! If you do manage to find it, go to the About box and hang out for a minute, you might discover why I'm such a big fan. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:36
  • Try to use a color checker... oh, too late now.

  • Or try to shoot in raw... oh, to late now too.

  • Try to setup a specific white balance... oh, to late now.

(Sorry for puting lemon in the wound n_n )

The only thing you can do now is to make artificial coloring inside Photoshop or Gimp.

Moving curves or making a new layer and trying diferent blending modes, for example color.

You need to adjust the white balance of this lights (Daylight fluorescent spiral lightbulb) or any light to remove the cold look (most likely greenish) but in some cases you could have some colors not as bright as they are originally. That is something a color profile should fix in a good extent.

Take a look at this post: Color issue: studio images have a pink hue

  • \$\begingroup\$ Adjusting local color balance is pretty easy in Lightroom using the Brush Filter. In addition to a Color Checker, you may also want to use a tripod :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 19:31

Next time, shoot in raw.

If you have Adobe camera raw, you can try to open the image in camera raw, then select "Automatic" as the lightning. Most of the time it gets the image correctly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you can get Adobe Camera Raw, I believe it also work with JPEG file. \$\endgroup\$
    – rvpals
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:44

If in raw try and find a neutral colour to click on for your white balance. Having a grey card in your bag is helpful also, just take your initial photo with the greycard in shot and shoot in raw


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