Today I am so excited to share my second how-to using Adobe Photoshop Elements. We often post colorful photos here at A Beautiful Mess. We love the look of bright, vibrant, candy colors! Today I want to share my quick method for waking up photos with color. This is a fun tutorial to teach because I remember that this is the very first thing I wanted to learn with I got my first copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements years ago.
Above you can see my Before image. This is how it looks straight out of my camera. In the after image you can see how much more colorful the image became in a few simple clicks... enjoy!
2. Open the layer menu in the bottom right hand corner of your page. Choose screen. This will make the image look much brighter. If your photo was really dark to start with you may like the brightness. For this photo it made it a little bit too bright, so I just lowered to Opacity (on that same menu) to about 60% before flattening the image. Next, flatten the image by pressing Layer, then Flatten Image.
3. Duplicate your layer again. Then go back down to the layer menu and choose Soft Light. This layer will instantly give your photo vibrant, beautiful color. If it's too much for you, reduce the Opacity a little. If it's not enough color, try Hard Light instead. Flatten your image. You can repeat these steps to create a more intense color and contrast on your photos.
4. Last, I will show you how to adjust levels. This is a tool I use at the beginning and end of editing most images. It's super helpful! To open your levels press command and L at the same time. The graph you will see represents the levels in your photo. Moving the arrows under the graph will adjust your levels. The left arrow will make things darker, the right arrow will make things brighter and the middle arrow is the midtones. If you've never adjusted levels before I recommend spending time playing with this feature on several different photos. Adjust the levels until they create your desired look. I tend to pull the far left and far right arrows in a little on most of my photos.
It's that easy! Follow these steps while editing your next batch of photos and see what a difference you can make with the colors in your photographs! Here are a few more examples of photos we've edited using this technique...