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Using Photo Retouching to Enhance Colors in an Image

When applying photo retouching techniques, you want to create effects that will enhance the overall look of the photograph without making it obvious that the picture was altered in any way. Retouching effects should serve as a means to enhance the natural elements within the photograph. Whenever possible, original elements of the photograph should be left intact to maintain an authentic appearance.

Defining Colors

Much of the work behind photo retouching is enhancing the coloring throughout the image. Poor natural lighting or excessive flash can wash out an image, making it look dull. Photo retouching software typically contains automatic filters that will brighten colors with the click of a button. These tools can also be used to correct specific coloring concerns such as redeye that may damage the look of your photograph. These filters can be an excellent timesaver for photographs that need very little work, but cannot always be guaranteed to provide a high level of detail.

In order to avoid creating an artificial looking haze on your photograph, editors are recommended to edit sections of colors separately. Touching up different sections on their own will give you more room to select the ideal color palette to preserve the natural look of the object. You can also blend these colored sections to preserve the lighting within the image rather than painting on a stagnant color block. Create a separate editing layer for each major section of color you plan to work with. This way you can add or remove effects without the threat of undoing other work you have done.

Defining Edges for Precise Coloring Effects

Clipping paths can also be used to select separate sections to adjust coloring effects. Create a new layer for each object you plan to edit and use the pencil tool to draw a clipping path around the desired portion of the image. This can be used to single out specific objects or to define edges and shadows that will require separate editing effects. Once the edges of your photograph are defined you can add specific coloring effects to each. Use blending tools or gradients to preserve lighting effects.

You can also use your clipping path as a guide to blend your edited effects into the original look of the photograph. Run a blending brush or sharpening tool along the edge to create a defining effect between your object and the background. This will help you eliminate any color run over that can make your editing look sloppy. This can also be used to create more definition, drawing the eye to specific portions of the image as desired. Keep any edging effects minimal to avoid damaging the background. Adding these in a separate layer will allow you to edit them later if you are not satisfied with the results.

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