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How to Use Saturation to Make Your Images Amazing

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Jan 16

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How to use saturation to enhance composition

Creating mood and emotion in images can help give your images that extra touch. Adding and subtracting color in different areas can help create a focal point and balance your composition. Today I go over different blend modes and effects you can use to check color levels in your photos.

Today’s Episode Timeline

  • 0:28 – Announcing last week’s contest winners
  • 2:00 – Analyzing color in an image
  • 2:40 – Using luminosity to analyze saturation levels
  • 6:30 – Create focal point
  • 9:00 – Use hue to check saturation levels
  • 10:34 – Announcing this week’s contest
  • 11:40 – Hubris

Last Week’s Contest Winner

Lets us know which Phlearn PRO Photoshop Tutorial you would like!

  • Rick- Great effect
  • Erikur Brynjolfsson- Love what you did with the colors and tones
  • Sebastian Ortiz - Totally different background, nice work
  • Nick Bedford- Love the wings
  • Ian Arneson- Phlare!

This Week’s Contest

Using a photo that you have created, play around with the colors and tones to create mood and give a different effect than what you started with. Try using complimentary colors and variations in the highlights and shadows. Submit your JPG in a comment for a chance to win! The contest is open until next Monday at 12PM CST.

5 People will each win 1 PRO Photoshop Tutorials.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, forgot to mention: the first one was edited to focus more on her as well. But that was weeks ago when I hadn’t seen this episode yet and I wasn’t really sure about it. So this was very helpful!

  • Ian Arneson

    Hey Aaron and Pham, 

    Below is my submssion for the contest but FIRST AND FOREMOST I want to go back and thank you for your “feel the fear and do it anyway” episode. I have faced my fear of contacting models and makeup artists and was able to do a whole bunch of shoots this week with models from Model Mayhem and a make up artist who did asist me in my picture below. THANK YOU THANK YOU so much for giving my the confidence to harness my fear and telling it to f*** off.

  • Mark Adkins

    Great episode! Thanks Aaron, and Phlearn!

    God bless

     - Mark

  • Julie Xiong

    Awesome tip, Aaron! Here’s my submission:

  • Martin Bartsch

    Looking at it with fresh eyes I felt it was a bit too saturated so I made some tweaks (Too much blue on the shadows and the girl’s skin colors bothered me s bit). Here my re-entry for my winter themed photograph:

  • Petra Šmidová

     Great tutorial. Here is my picture, hope you like it: 

  • Daniel Lofthouse

    I found this info so invaluable. I can now go back into my archives and play around with images that i thought were unusable

    I hope you like the use of saturation in my image, although its very subtle, i think it works

  • nightwish

    Nice tutorial! Interesting manipulations with layers :) tried too

  • Mark ODonnell

    This tutorial had me revisiting some of my landscape photos.   I wanted to submit this one for the contest.
    Saturation of the foreground (house) desaturation of the background (mountains).  I think it really helps draw the eye to the focal point and definitely adds to the scale of the image.   Thanks again Aaron!

  • Selene Alexia

    Just for the extra cuteness! Saturation/desaturation does add :) Fantastic week of tutorials! thanks :D  

  • Colin Bridge

    Outstanding image and use of desaturation. You nailed it.

  • Colin Bridge

    Wow Im going to go back and look at a lot of old ohotos and see how many of them have messed up saturation levels. Great episode. Great week! Love learning more about color. I thought I knew a lot but I keep getting Phlearned. Thanks Aaron! Couldnt pick between these two to enter. Love to know what you all think!

  • Colin Bridge

    Heres the before and after if your interested

  • Alfonso Barona

    Ey Aaron!!I dont know if i can post two images to the contest!!but i have been working in this image for 2 days!!!I had the photo shoot friday afternoon and didnt stop working since then!!Let me know what you think!! 

  • James Warwood

    I’ve really loved this weeks tutorials more than usual. I think i’ve really overlooked the use of Saturation/hue/luminosity in my images up untill now. This seems crazy when i look at it now as it makes such a difference to an image. 

    I revisited an image i took about 9 months ago. I love the image but have always felt it was laking a certain quality that i just couldn’t put my finger on. I put the techniques from this weeks tutorials into action and i’m really pleased with how it has turned out :)

  • Daniel James T. Cook

    End of week came fast. Didn’t have anything that was really appropriate to this challenge so I went outside and took this yesterday. Most of the colors are pretty muted around here right now but the storm was breaking so there was a lot of yellows popping pretty well with some sunlight breaking through the storm before sunset. I exaggerated the feeling of this with several different layers of controlled saturation so as to reduce distraction from the dramatic light in sky and at tops of mountains.  
    Nice work to all you other Phlearners  - lots of interesting posts!


  • David Clumpner

    This episode was very helpful for me – thank you.  Here is my submission.

  • Karissa Hosek

    Loved Fridays video! I need to wipe my iMac out terribly, I have been working on images with lots of layers and saving them as .psb files and it would take sooo long to save i knew i had to do something about it otherwise i would drive myself crazy! 
    this image is of my friend Maria who managed to sit on a tiny board hanging from a tree in a heavy bottomed dress. I wanted the image to have a painterly look and phlearn pros helped me create that effect. The water made the image peaceful so I wanted to emphasize blue’s to add a cool mood to the image and used yellow to compliment the cool hues. Because maria is the focus of the image she is a little more saturated while in the distance it is slightly desaturated and less contrasty. Was very fun to make and phlearn inspired me to make it happen so Thank You!

    Aaron what happened to phlearn bracelets? i wanted to order some canon len’s ones but thought the phlearn ones were cooler ;)

  • Pooja

    Ahh, I’m so glad I discovered Phlearn! Excited to be entering my first contest now… I absolutely love this technique. As you can see, my starting image was crazily saturated. Used this technique to tone it down, then played around to refine the sort of dreamy, vintage-y look I wanted. 

  • Aaron Nace

    Erikur is alwyas rich and powerful! You are even cooler than I thought you were. Congratulations and I hope to visit Iceland someday!

  • Eric Seilo

    so simple and so impactful! Thank you for all these nuggets Aaron!

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