In fact, after going through this tutorial, you will see that nearly every photo you take can be significantly enhanced using these or similar color adjustments.
So fire up iPhoto ’09 and let’s try out an example. You can use any color photo that is relatively well exposed and not blurry.
- Select a suitable, flat image from your iPhoto library and click the Edit button.
- We’re going to work with two Editing tools in iPhoto – Effects and Adjust. Most professional photographers shy away from Effects-like tools because they want to have more control over the adjustments they make to a photo. But Apple understands that most digital photographers are not professional and don’t have lots of time to spend on editing images. So they created the Effects tool for the quick effects that it can make.
- So click the Effects button. It contains eight different image effects. The one in the middle represents your image in its original state. Keep that in mind because if you don’t like the effects applied to an image, you can always click the original to get you back to where you started.
- For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the Boost Color effect. Basically, what this effect does is saturate the colors in your selected image. Simply click and watch your colors instantly pop some.
- With iPhoto ’09, I believe Apple added a feature to the Effects tool which allows you to increase or decrease the amount of the selected effect. This adjustment feature provides a little more control, but don’t get carried away with it, because you’ll notice that when the effect is applied, it impacts the entire image. If you add too much, it can make the image too dark or overly saturated. So judiciously apply the effect.
- Now let’s switch to the Adjust tool and play around with some of the adjustment colors. If you haven’t used this tool much, just start from the top and work your way down, especially with the first four sliders. Before you get started though, if your image contains people, click the “avoid saturating the skin tones” button so that when you move the Saturation slider it won’t make the skin tones red or orange looking.
- Now depending on the brightness and contrast of your image, you will want to move the slides left or right – but mainly to the left if it’s a well exposed image. As you make the adjustments, make sure you’re not losing detail in the highlights (white areas) and dark areas of the photo.
Contrast, Saturation & Definition
- Definitely move the contrast slider to the right. I have rarely shot an image that didn’t need some boost in Contrast.
- Now adjust for saturation. Be very careful that you don’t blow out the colors, but mainly deepen and enrich them.
- The next set of adjustments are also very useful. Definition works very well for portrait images, but it can also enhance color saturation. So slide it to the right some and see if it further brings contrast to your image.
- The Highlights and Shadows sliders are for trying to bring back details in the bright and dark areas of your image. Some detail like the background sky might get lost in the original capture, but you can add these adjustments to see if they improve the highlights and shadows.
- Now, not to make your head spin, but you can do advance adjustments by using the Levels sliders at the top of the Adjustment panel. In fact, you could start there if you understand how it works. Basically, with Levels you can adjust the shadow/dark areas (the left side Levels) and highlight areas (the right side) of the image, and the midtones. By using Levels, you’re controlling particular areas of the image, instead of affecting the entire photo.
- The last adjustment you want to make is Sharpening. Simply slide that sucker over to your desired sharpness. This is especially important if you plan to print your image. Don’t over sharpen; but nearly every digital image you take will need some sharpening – even images shot with a professional camera.
Now if you think that’s a lot of work, you might be happy to know that you can actually copy and paste the adjustments you just made and apply them to another image that is similar in exposure. Just click the Copy button; navigate to your next image and click Paste. From there you can make minor adjustments if needed.
Let us know if you find this tutorial helpful or what problems you encountered when doing it.