Simplifying color for stronger images

It’s easy to fall in love with beautiful color. And for the same reason, it can also be a distraction when the color jumps out in a way that pulls your viewer’s eyes away from the main subject. In this tutorial you’ll learn how simplifying color can help strengthen your image.

The key adjustment in this edit was to push the yellow hue towards green and reduce its saturation to match. Once the forest was a more uniform saturation, we could then boost it across all the tree and add some contrast to give the image more life. Luminosity masks were helpful at several points to help isolate the adjustments:

  • The yellow hue adjustment was affecting the colors on the forest floor as well as the trees, so a darks luminosity mask helped paint the ground black to avoid unwanted color shift in areas where the original color was not an issue.
  • When boosting vibrance, the blue, red, and magenta values were becoming too strong, so an inverted color mask was used to exclude those problem colors from the mask.
  • Lumenzia’s automatic contrast enhancment feature was used to boost midtone contrast by selecting a general midtone preview and clicking “contrast”. Blendif works great for general DML masks and keeps the file size down. The resulting adjustment has modest opacity by default, so the opacity was increased a bit to add more contrast.
  • To brighten the river, a blue selection helped quickly create an accurate mask of the river to avoid brightening the surrounding areas.
Greg Benz Photography