145. Correct Color, Contrast, and Saturation in One Step
144 Correct Color Manually
146 Adjust Hue, Saturation, and Lightness Manually
147 Adjust Saturation for a Specific Area
You can quickly correct the color, contrast, and saturation in a photo using the Color Variations command. With this command, you select the color correction for the image by simply clicking a thumbnail variation of the image. For example, if you want to reduce the red in your image, you click the Decrease Red thumbnail.
You can adjust the color variations within your image for the Midtones, Shadows, and Highlights tonal areas. The Shadows adjustments affect all the darker areas in the image. The Highlights adjustments affect the lighter areas, and the Midtones adjustments affect the middle values in the image.
You can also control the saturation of the colors in the image by selecting the Saturation option. Then you can click either the Less Saturation thumbnail to decrease saturation (making the color more muted) or the More Saturation thumbnail to increase it (making the color more vivid).
As you make changes to the color, contrast, and saturation of the image, the before and after previews display at the top of the Color Variations dialog box. These views of your image enable you to see your progress. At any time, you can restart the process by clicking the Reset Image button.
Choose Enhance, Adjust Color, Color Variations
Open the image you want to correct in the Editor in Standard Edit mode and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. In the Layers palette, choose the layer you want to correct.
From the menu bar, select Enhance, Adjust Color, Color Variations from the menu. The Color Variations dialog box appears.
Specify Area to Adjust
Select the radio button that corresponds to the tonal area of the image you want to adjust. For example, to adjust the middle range of colors, select the Midtone radio button.
Set Color Intensity
Set the color intensity for the adjustment by dragging the Adjust Color Intensity slider to the left to decrease the intensity or to the right to increase it. As you drag the slider, you will see the color intensity adjusted for the thumbnail images.
Select Adjustment Channel
Click the thumbnail image that corresponds to the type of color adjustment you want to make. For the Midtones, Shadows, and Highlights adjustment areas, the top row of thumbnails is devoted to increases, the bottom row to decreases. The group of adjustments on the left is devoted to individual color channels (red, green, and blue); on the right, Lighten and Darken apply changes to all three channels simultaneously. When you click a thumbnail, the changes are applied to the image in the right preview widow at the top of the dialog box. In addition, the thumbnail images at the bottom of the dialog box update to reflect the changes you just applied.
If you select the Saturation option, buttons appear to adjust the saturation. Click the Less Saturation button to reduce the saturation or the More Saturation button to increase it.
Repeat steps 2 through 4 to make adjustments for other areas of the image. As the adjustments are made to the image, you can view the result in the After preview window on the top-right of the Color Variations dialog box.
When you have made the desired adjustments, click the OK button to close the dialog box and apply the color variation selections to the image.
If you do not like the corrections selected, click the Reset Image button to switch back to the original version of the image.
View the Result
When you close the dialog box, Photoshop Elements applies the selections to your image. This process might take a few seconds. When you're satisfied with the results, make any other changes you want and save the PSP file. Resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image with its layers (if any) intact so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want.
For this example, I decreased the amount of red in the Midtones and lightened the image. This made the dog's coat look whiter and brightened the overall image considerably. Rather than panting in a shady spot (as looked to be the case in the original photo), the dog now appears to be sitting on a blazing hot patio, which was exactly where the photo was taken.