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Have you ever looked at an old color photograph and thought the colors were just lackluster and boring? Even though it's not appropriate in every old color image you run across, sometimes they'll need just a little boost to make the color pop. One way of doing that is with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. In order for the Hue/Saturation adjustment to work, the photo you want to work on has to have any colorcast removed. This particular photo doesn't have a strong colorcast, but that's something to keep in mind for any images you might have and try this on.
Let's go to the Add a new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and select Hue/ Saturation. This icon lets you modify the colors of an image by clicking on the color on the image itself. We'll click that and then move over to our image. Let's begin with a certain color, let's say the pink in this flower, which is in the Magenta channel. Holding your mouse button down, your right mouse button, slide this over. You can see how it deepened this color and these, but it also brought out the magentas in the background.
That's one reason I recommend you do each color on a different adjustment layer. Now you can go over to the mask and invert the color from white to black by holding down Ctrl+I or Command+I and invert it. Now go over to your toolbar, select your Brush tool, and paint the colors back in only where you want them. You can do all your colors on the same layer, but again, I recommend you don't, in case you want to go back and just adjust the one color, say you think, the pinks are little strong, but your yellows look good, and if it's on its own layer, then you can adjust just that color.
Now let's set another hue and saturation adjustment, going to your Create a new fill or adjustment layer, and again, Hue/Saturation. Click this icon. Let's move over to these purple flowers. Move the icon over. Again, we're going to invert our layer mask, because we've got some blues in here that we really don't want to bring out. Ctrl+I or Command+I to invert, brush tool from the tool panel, and paint in where you want the color.
Now let's do one more. Create a new fill or adjustment layer, Hue/Saturation, click our icon, and let's go with yellow this time. Hold down your mouse button, your right mouse button, and slide it over. Now I want to exaggerate this color for a reason. First we'll go over and see, we have to get rid of all this along the edges. Ctrl+I or Command+I to invert, and Brush tool. Paint in our yellow flowers that are rather bright now.
Let's see if there's any up here. If you have this situation where it just looks a little too bright, obviously, you probably wouldn't let something this bright get through, but if you want to adjust it, you can always go back, click your icon, go back down, adjust it that way, or you can lower the opacity of the layer at any time. You have options on how you want to adjust. Let's look at the before and the after. There's still a lot of work to do, but we brought out some colors that weren't there, made them pop just a little.
Sometimes a color image can benefit from a little saturation boost, as long as it's kept natural. The beauty of a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is that you can always go back and tone it down if you think you may have overdone it. Try it on your lackluster color images and see if it's just the boost they need.
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