How to improve and enhance the colors of an image in Photoshop professionally

Luminosity Masks is an advanced technique for many photographers who want to adjust the settings in their images. This is a great way to create accurate masks, this mask is applied based on the brightness of a pixel and may not be suitable for when you just want to make certain color settings. 

Maybe you want to increase the intensity of a beautiful sunset or change the color of your eyes in the pictures. No matter what color setting you want to make, there is a simple and quick way to make an accurate selection based on color intensity using the Photoshop Color Range tool.

How to use the settings

Before we get into how to make an accurate choice based on a color, we want to talk about why you should use the selected settings in the image processing. The shooting area and landscape should be attractive, but it does not matter what kind of images you capture. If you want your images to look better, you have to make some adjustments to them.

You do not need to have very advanced effort and expertise, but at least start with some color settings. The main reason for doing this is to get rid of unwanted colors. Color imbalance can be a result of previous processing or a direct result of the camera, and appears as a negative effect when viewing the image.

I used Selective Adjustments in this image to add a cool shadow.

Applying settings to a specific area is quite common. Normal adjustment can be applied to the whole image (known as general adjustment). Instead, to create a mask, you can select only the part of the image that you want to be affected (for example, highlights, color, or maybe just a specific subject). For now, I have kept most of the image intact.

Create a mask based on color

Well, let’s make some color adjustments. In the example below, I want to increase the saturation and brightness of the yellow flowers in the foreground. A common way to make a similar setting is to use the Hue / Saturation setting and increase the yellow saturation. The flowers are now saturated and brighter, but the rocks, areas in the sky and even some parts of the water need to be adjusted.

First make sure you are in the Stamp layer – in other words, the layer where all the layers are merged (you can delete this layer later but need it for the next step). Now, go to Select> Color Range… A new menu should appear now and here you are going to create the mask.

For best results, make sure Colors Sampled is selected in the drop-down menu. It is possible to work with other options, but by manually selecting colors, the mask becomes much more accurate. Next, by selecting the Eyedropper Tool, click on the color you want to select in the image. For me, this color is one of the yellow flowers in the foreground. Note that the image inside the box has changed according to the current color range and is mostly black. This represents the area we select (only the white part of the mask is affected).

Arrange the mask

The Fuzziness slider is a useful tool for selecting more or less area. By dragging the slider to the left, you create a more limited mask and affect the less similar colors you choose. Pulling it to the right has the opposite effect. I prefer to use the 70-80 approximation, but I recommend that you play with it for each action to get the best results.

This is it! Click OK and create an exact mask based on that color. Now you select the settings you want to use.

Add color to selected area

Before we continue, I want to show you how you can add more colors to the selection mask. Let’s add the bright spots of the sky to the selection. Before clicking “OK” and making a selection, simply hold down the shift key or select a tool in the Eyedropper section called Add to Sample and click on the sun. You will see that the mask changes and the area around the sun becomes white and selected.

Unfortunately, at this point too, some of the rocks in the lower right corner that I do not want to change have been affected. The best way to remove these changes is to use a brush to restore the changes, after creating a color adjustment layer.

Apply settings

The last thing I do is increase the saturation and brightness of the flowers. An adjustment layerCreate a Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer.

Apply your desired color settings.

Drag the Saturation slider to the left or right to get the color you want.

This precise masking technique can be used on any adjustment layer you want. I often combine it with any settings based on Hue / Saturation or Photo Filter and Color Balance. For brightness and contrast settings of the image, I prefer to use Luminosity Masks.

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