Photography tips – Bring on the color!

Now that the winter blahs of monocrome are slipping away, it is time to focus on getting some of that yummy color into your photography.  In having a Nikon, this allows me to have some gorgeous color in the SOOC shots and with a little editing I can brighten it up even more.  Nikons tend to show a lot of red, which is a blessing and a curse.  While having this color pop is great, it can also give a red cast to the picture if it is too strong.  That is something that can be fixed in Photoshop, though. 

This little tips edition is focused on bringing out the color in Photoshop.

Basically, I do a few t.hings to bring out the color:

Defog (unsharpen mask 20/60/0). 

Adjust in curves/levels.

Add layer mask (click on the white/black circle in the layers palette) for brightness/contrast.  I don’t move the brightness slider much and usually increase the contrast slider to around +20…it depends on the picture.  Erase out blown areas.

Add layer mask for hue/saturation and increase the saturation slider.  Erase out oversaturated areas (usually skin gets too red).

Flatten layers.

Sponge tool where needed (usually rocks and trees to bring out texture) and desaturate where nuclear (too much color).  The sponge tool is located under one of the tools on the left side.  Right click over them to find it, and put the flow (toolbar on top) at around 15%.  You don’t want it too intense since it can go over the top quickly.

Fix any color casts (i.e. too red, too yellow, too blue).

Use the burn tool to burn around the edges to put your subjects in the “light”.  The burn tool is similar to the sponge tool, and is located in your tools.  It makes the edges darker, so set the exposure around 15-20% on this, too. 

Here is the SOOC image


Here is the image after the above process


Another thing to keep in mind is try not to do this to a photo that has too many contrasting colors.  This one is a bit borderline for me.  Just start playing with these tools until you get the “look” that you want.  Have fun!

6 Replies to “Photography tips – Bring on the color!”

  1. I did this on my Easter photos and I have to say, wow, wow, wow. What a difference it makes, thank you for the tutorial, my pictures and I thank you. Any hints for indoor photography?

  2. So glad it worked for you!

    I’ll have to think about the indoor photography. I’ll try to do that as my post this Saturday. 🙂

  3. This seems terribly similar to the highpass technique I use:

    Duplicate background layer
    use highpass filter (under ‘other’)
    set blend on this layer to hard light
    adjust opacity of the layer until it looks just right.
    I find it helps pop colours and adds a sharpness to photos that is wonderful.
    It only works well on some photos though, not all photos.

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