Adjust color saturation, remove a color cast, or change the color of a selected object to get the look you want.

Photograph of a man standing on a bridge over the ocean watching the sun rise

“Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.” ― Paul Gaugin

Make the colors in a photo more or less saturated 

Color saturation is the intensity of colors in an image. A saturated color, like the red of a fire engine, is rich, pure color. A less saturated red would be more muted and tinted with gray. 

Photograph of a firetruck with a wildfire in the background

If your photograph doesn’t look as compelling as the scene you remember, try adding a pop of color by adjusting the saturation. Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the saturation, hue, or lightness of all the colors in a photograph or to target specific colors.

If there are people in your photo, use a Vibrance adjustment layer to adjust color intensity. Vibrance is a more subtle way to adjust color saturation. It focuses on saturating colors that need it most, and it protects skin tones from over-saturation.

Side by side photos of a boy with a toy can phone, the right side image has been warmed up by removing a bluish tint

Correct an unwanted color cast

A color cast is a wash of color across a photograph. Some color casts, like a green cast from fluorescent lighting, are unwanted. Others, like the golden glow from a sunset, are welcome. 

A quick way to neutralize an unwanted color cast is to use the gray eyedropper in the Levels or Curves controls to click on something in the photo that should be medium gray. Photoshop uses this hint to remap all the colors in the photo for a more natural look.

Side by side photos of a plate of cookies, the right side looks more natural through color correction

Change the color of an object

Would you like to see how your car would look in a different color? Have you wondered what you’d look like with different hair color or eye color? In Photoshop, you can change the color of almost anything.

Using any of Photoshop’s powerful selection tools, select the object you want to recolor. With the object selected, you’re able to change the color of only that object.

One way to change the color of a selected object is with a Hue/Saturation adjustment, which lets you change three properties of color: hue (the actual color), saturation (the intensity of the color), and lightness (the brightness of the color), so you can get just the color you want.

Side by side photos of a car, the car is red in one photo and purple in the other

When you do change color, try to do it using adjustment layers that float above your photograph rather than a direct adjustment to the photo. This type of editing is called non-destructive editing and is a good habit to get into because it protects your photo and gives you the flexibility to change your mind about your edits. 

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