Make Color Images Pop in Photoshop

Change the entire feel of your images using these Photoshop tools.

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Color is elemental in anything you do, especially when it comes to attracting customers or fitting their needs. You can effectively and efficiently manipulate color in Photoshop with Desaturate and Hue/Saturation options-both of which can be found in the top menu bar under Image > Image Adjustments.

Has a customer ever asked for a sepia-toned image or for a black-and-white photo to be used in place of the color photo provided? Using the Desaturate adjustment instead of converting the image directly into the grayscale mode will allow the image to retain more of the tonal variations.

A black-and-white image should consist of deep blacks, various grays, and strong whites. You never want a black-and-white photo to look mostly gray. If the image needs a little boost to brighten or darken some areas, the key command Ctrl + L (or apple + L for Mac) will bring up your Levels palette. Here you can deepen your shadows or lighten the whites to get a better black-and-white image by moving the appropriately colored triangles along the baseline.

The Hue/Saturation option can do wonders for a color photograph. Once this option has been selected, a window will pop open. The key command is Ctrl+U for this adjustment palette. Start with the Edit option by selecting Master. This refers to the effects taking place on all color levels across the entire image. This is also a good place to adjust a color; if you have too much red in a photo, for example, change the Master to Red or Cyan and watch your colors shift with the swish of a mouse.

The bar options for altering the image are Hue, which refers to the actual color of the image or selected image area; Saturation is the strength of the color, and Lightness is the relative light or darkness of an image. A positive (+) symbol will appear after the number when moving the triangle to the right of 0. A negative (-) symbol will appear after the number when moving it to the left.

Shifting to the right in the Hue area will change the color of your image, while shifting the lightness to the left will darken or add black to the image. If the image needs to pop, then explore the Saturation area. The Hue/Saturation and Desaturate image adjustments are both time-efficient ways to change the entire feel of any image.

-Jennifer Foy, Unisub

Jennifer Foy

Jennifer Foy


Jennifer Foy has over 20 years of experience using Adobe software and working in the advertising, marketing, and design fields. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and a Master of Arts in Advertising from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. Her years of teaching experience include numerous software and design classes for colleges in Atlanta, Georgia, and Louisville, Kentucky. Jennifer is currently working as the Creative Director at Universal Woods with the Unisub and ChromaLuxe brands. Jennifer can be reached by email at [email protected]

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