Digital Photography Tweaks – Color

Have you ever taken a picture that you were sure captured the color of fall leaves, spring flowers, or your granddaughter’s Halloween costume? Then you pull that photo up, and you wonder where all that color went. The human brain is amazing at seeing things that cameras fail to capture.

If you’ve lost the color you were trying to capture, photo editors can help. Here’s a picture of the creek that runs through my back yard. When I took this photo the fall colors were bursting out, but the end product was less than epic.


With a little tweaking I was able to get those colors back. The picture below is the same image, but now the colors jump out, and this tweak took less than a minute to do.


Pick an image you want to modify and load it into the Editor workspace in PSP. Then use the Adjust pull down menu to choose Hue and Saturation, and click on the Hue/Saturation/Lightness… selection. Again, click on an image to display it full size so you can see the controls.


This will pop up the Hue/Saturation/Lightness window. The Preview on Image check box should be checked. Ignore the Edit: Master control and the Colorize check box. There are separate sliders, and boxes to enter values, for the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness settings. The setting that we’re going to work with is Saturation. Increasing this value will add rich colors back into your image. I encourage you to play with all the controls to see what they do.


I recommend trying to keep your images lifelike. It’s real easy to go overboard with color tweaks, and get something that nature never intended. For example, you can play around with Hue and create alien landscapes.


GIMP has options like PSP, but with even more controls. Load your image into GIMP and use the Colors pull down menu to click on the Hue-Saturation… selection.


This will bring up the Adjust Hue/Lightness/Saturation window. The Preview check box should be checked. Ignore the Presets, Select Primary Color, and Overlap controls. The same kind of sliders and number entry boxes are available as in PSP. Saturation is the control to use for stronger colors. Play with the other controls to see what they do.


Again, you can create some wild images with these controls. If you want weird, go for it. Just remember to save your original image file unchanged and play with a copy. That way you can get back to the original when needed. Post any questions in the comments section and I’ll respond.



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