The following image of some rather cute mallard ducklings is
ok but a little washed out. The image lacks punch as the colour
saturation is not high enough.
I suggest that your screen is accurately calibrated before making
adjustments to your images, otherwise what you produce will
not print out as you would expect it to be, and if you post
it on a website or e.mail it to someone they may not see it
on their screen as you expect them to either.
If I was working with a RAW image I would have adjusted the
hue/saturation slider in the "adjust" menu and then
selectively chosen a colour to boost it a little more in the
"calibrate" menu. Any further adjustment in Photoshop
should then become unnecessary - unless you want to tweak a
When working with jpeg images, the camera parameters dictate
the hue and saturation, so if you are not happy with what the
camera produced for you, then you will need to follow this tutorial
to rectify the situation. Hue/saturation becomes another essential
basic image adjustment.
Ok, so let's get going. Open your image and click Image >
adjustments > hue/saturation. Adjust the saturation slider
until the image looks how you would like it. +19 looked about
right to me in this example. Don't overdo it or the image will
look unnatural. The dialogue box also gives you options to change
the hue (i.e. alter the colour itself or lighten/darken it).
I tend not to use these controls as I find that it is better
to adjust lightness in "levels or curves" and hue
in "colour balance".
So what we have done is apply a universal increase in colour
saturation to our image and it looks much better. On most occasions
this is all I tend to do. But what if we want to bring out one
colour in particular ?
The next image is of a ring-tailed lemur taking a rest. The
image was taken in the shade of a tree and consequently the
wonderful red colour of the sand and the glow of the lemur's
eyes are lacking in red saturation. I have opened the hue/saturation
dialogue box again, and this time selected reds from the drop
down menu and clicked ok. If I use the saturation slider now,
all the reds in the image will increase in saturation, but only
the reds covered within the range indicted at the bottom of
the hue/saturation window)
But it gets better - click on the middle eyedropper tool and
then move it over to any part of the image that you want to
work on and click on it. Take a look at the image below and
you will notice that the central eyedropper is highlighted,
and also if you look in the tools palette to the left of the
screen the foreground colour box has changed to the colour of
the sand where I had clicked the eyedropper. I then adjusted
the saturation to +14 affecting reds of the selected hue only.
This ends the tutorial on hue/saturation. I hope that it will
assist you in getting the most out of your images.