The Most Natural Way to Increase Saturation and Enhance Color in Photoshop

Usually, if we have to increase the colors, we simply tend to increase the saturation slider in Hue/Saturation adjustment Layer. However, as you might have observed, it starts looking a little fake, besides, the colors begin to look over saturated and the pixels really start showing up. For instance, you might have observed lines in the sky show up, which is also called color banding. In this tutorial, we will unleash the power of Selective Color Adjustment Layer to not only increase the saturation naturally but also have much more control and flexibility on how the colors are being accentuated. Say, you love increasing the saturation, but you hate what it does to the reds in the images. Using Selective Color, you can control that very easily. By the way, you don’t have to fiddle with all the sliders and not get overwhelmed by the complexity of selective color when you look at it the first time. Trust me, once you understand it, the process will become really simple and handy.


All images are fundamentally made of three colors: Red , Green And Blue (RGB).In this tutorial, I’m not going to explain , but just remember this formula: Red is the opposite of Cyan , Green is the opposite of Magenta and Blue is the opposite of Yellow. See the diagram below to remember it.


The Process:

1.Open the image in Photoshop. I picked up this image because I think this will look good with a saturation boost.

Nikon D7000 + Nikkor 18-105mm

2. Copy the Background Layer. To do this, hit Ctrl (or, Command, if you are using a MAC) +J.

3. Click on the Adjustment Layer icon and select selective color.

Select “Selective Color”

4.Click on the Colors in the Selective Color panel.This will open up a drop down menu.


5. Select the Reds. We don’t have a “Red” slider in the sliders below. But remember the RGB vs. CMY chart? Cyan is the opposite of Red. So, if we put the cyan to negative value it will boost the reds in the image. Push the “cyan” slider all the way to -100.


6. Select the Yellows. Push the “yellow” Slider to +100.


7. Select the Greens. Magenta is the opposite of Green. Just like what we did with Reds, here, push the “Magenta” slider to -100.


8. Select the Cyans. Push the “Cyan” Slider to +100.


9. Select the Blues. Yellow is the opposite of Blue. So, push the “Yellow” slider to -100.


10. Select the Magentas. Push the “magenta” Slider to +100.


That’s pretty much it. Now we have a saturated image. Look how beautiful it looks!

Final Result

If you like to add some more saturation, just duplicate this Selective Color layer. If you wish to take away some saturation, adjust the layer opacity to your taste till it looks OK. Since we have done this on an Adjustment layer, you can always play with the sliders to get the right amount of saturation for a particular color by increasing or decreasing the value.

Making A Preset:

To make a preset with all the values, click on the icon at the upper right corner of the Selective Color Panel. Then select Save Selective Color Preset. Name it as “Saturation”. You can use this preset to save some valuable time.

Click on “Save Selective Color Preset”

Leave comments in the section below if you have any queries about this technique.

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