Making Your Colors More Vibrant

Do you drool over the luscious photos in travel magazinesthe ones that make regular, non-vacation life seem pretty drab in comparison? What is it about those photos that makes things look so dramatic?

A lot of the time the answer is the saturation, or the intensity, of the colors. Supersaturated colors make even ordinary landscapes and objects really pop (to use the technical term).

It's not necessary to work on an entire photo when changing its saturation. By increasing the saturation of your subject and decreasing the saturation in the rest of the photo, for example, you can call attention where you want it, even in a crowded picture. Figure 12-12 shows a somewhat exaggerated use of this technique, and you can download the photo (shelfsitter.jpg) from the "Missing CD" page at to try it out for yourself.

Figure 12-12. Top: In this photo, all the little shelfsitter figures are about equal in brightness. Meanwhile, the rest of the photo was desaturated. The effect is exaggerated here, but a subtler use of this technique can help call attention to the part of a photo where you want people to focus their attention.

It's quite easy to change saturation. You can use either the Hue/Saturation dialog box or the Sponge tool, which are explained in the following sections. For big areas, or when you want a lot of control, use Hue/Saturation. If you just want to quickly paint a different saturation level (either more or less saturation) on a small spot in your photo, the Sponge tool is faster.

Note: Many consumer-grade digital cameras are set to crank the saturation of your JPEG photos into the stratosphere. That's great if you love all the color. If you prefer not to live in a Technicolor universe, you may wish to desaturate your photos in Elements to remove some of the excess color.

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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