Working with digital color images, there are many ways of doing the same thing. Part of what makes Photoshop seem so complicated is that it has a host of different ways you can enhance your images. For color adjustments alone, there is a bunch of tools on the menu. Hereâ€™s a quick list of the top seven tools you can use in Photoshop to bring stunning color into your pictures.
1. RAW Vibrance and Saturation
If you shoot in RAW, you can enhance color right on the original file in the RAW Camera window. At the bottom of the default menu, there are two sliders you can use to increase vibrance and saturation. Slide those over to the right a little, and you get extra punch in your photos.
Caution: If your photo has dark edges in sharp contrast to very bright edges, you might get some discoloration around these areas if you pump up the vibrance and saturation.
2. Adjusting Hue in RAW
Thereâ€™s another place in the RAW Camera window where you can make adjustments to the color. Click on the icon that looks like a zigzagging line, and you reach the HSL/Grayscale menu. Here you can adjust the hues in your image. For instance, if you wanted the greens to look more yellow, you can move the appropriate slider to adjust this hue.
Caution: Each move of a slider affects the color of other like hues, so be careful when youâ€™re making adjustments in this menu. There is no way to mask the adjustments in this mode.
Once you open the file in Photoshop and youâ€™re out of Camera RAW, there are a bunch ofÂ color adjustment modes in the menu you can choose from.
3. Hue Saturation Adjustment
The HS menu allows you to adjust the hue and saturation of individual colors. For example, in the original photo, the reds were too intense, even though I had not adjusted Vibrance or Saturation in Camera RAW before opening the file. So I toned down the red using the individual color adjustment available in the Hue Saturation menu.
4. Color Balance
Another menu that is available for color work in PS is the Color Balance menu. Here, complementary colors are matched upon sliders that work like scales, for instance Yellow and Blue.
If you move the Yellow-Blue slider toward the yellow, the photo gains more yellow and loses some blue. If youâ€™re doing selective color adjustments, you can mess up one color if you adjust another using the Color Balance menu. However, thereâ€™s a way you can get around this.
Using the Lasso or Magnetic Lasso tool, select the area you want to enhance and then work in Color Balance mode. That way, you leave the rest of the photo unchanged.
Â 5. Selective Color
Selective color menu is more discrete than Color Balance. Opening the Selective Color adjustment menu, you will see each color with its own hue sliders. For instance, if I adjust Cyan, I can pump it up by minimizing Yellow, by moving the Yellow slider in the Cyan menu to the left.
The advantage of using the Selective Color menu is that the changes you make on one color doesnâ€™t affect the other colors in the photograph. This can save you having to mask out unwanted color casts as a result of changes to one color that could affect the hue of another.
6. Photo Filter
This is an addition to the newer versions of Photoshop. Photo Filter adjustments are simple temperature changes to the photo. By choosing the Warm filters, your photo gets a warm tinge, and by choosing a Cool filter, you add more blue and coolness to the photoâ€™s look.
Vibrance adjusts the intensity of color in your photo. By moving the slider to the right, your colors pop more. The Vibrance slider is only one adjustment, and it works best not only for enhancing the intensity of the colors in the photo, but also helps pump up what might just be a tinge of color. For instance, if you had a sky with a tinge of orange, you can use Vibrance to enhance that little blush of orange.
The image still looks natural, but the colors are enhanced after processing using color-enhancing tools in Photoshop.
Although this list is only for Photoshop, you can find the same tools (except for the Camera RAW ones) in other photo processing software, most often with the same terminology. They work the same way, so you donâ€™t have to worry that youâ€™ll lack the tools to help you enhance color in your digital photographs.
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