Use a Photo Filter inside Photoshop

Traditional Photo Filers – Sergpet | iStockphoto

Chances are you’ve used glass filters on your camera lens to solve a problem. These can be used to “cool” or “warm” a picture, or to add special effects. Since Photoshop often tries to simulate or correct for steps not taken in the field, the addition of Photo Filters was a logical evolution for Photoshop.

These are  “real-time,” color-correction options that require ZERO rendering.  You’ll find a total of  20 different adjustments that simulate traditional colored glass filters. Besides the built-in presets, you can also choose custom colors from the Photo Filter interface using the standard Color Picker.

The Most Useful Photo Filters

These are the photo filters I find myself using most frequently.

  • Warming Filter (85 and LBA) and Cooling Filter (80 and LBB). These adjustment layers are meant to even out photos that were not properly white balanced. The Cooling Filter (80 or LBB) makes images bluer to simulate cooler ambient light. The Warming Filter (85 or LBA) makes images warmer to simulate hotter ambient light.
  • Warming Filter (81) and Cooling Filter (82). These adjustment layers are similar to the previous filters but cast a more pronounced color. The Warming Filter (81) makes the photo more yellow, and the Cooling Filter (82) makes the photo bluer.
  • Individual Colors. The Photo Filter also has 14 preset colors to choose from. These can be used for two primary purposes: to add a complementary color to a scene to remove color cast or for stylistic reasons.

Put Them in Action

Let’s try applying a Photo Filter adjustment layer:

The original photo | ©Richard Harrington

1. Open a file that doesn’t have the right “temperature” or mood.

2. Click the Photo Filter icon in the Adjustments panel.

3. In the Filter area, choose Cooling Filter (80) to adjust the temperature of the photo.


The sky and the image should be “bluer.” You can adjust the Density slider to control the intensity of the effect.

The final image is cooled down | ©Richard Harrington


About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus as well as an author on Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

Posted on December 5, 2011, in Gear, Tutorial. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Use a Photo Filter inside Photoshop.

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