Even if it’s one of the simplest manipulations of your original picture, the Adjustment of Colors is also one of the most effective. Its very useful when the weather its self creates tones of grey and the adjustments of hue and saturation wont help. All you have to do is to go to the Image menu in Adobe Photoshop: Image -> Adjustments -> Selective Color. Choose from the Colors the Neutrals Option and modify the tones as you wish. In my example, I added Cyan and decreased the Yellow to obtain bluish Relative (not Absolute) tones instead of grey, then a bit of Magenta to be as natural as possible.
Second I got rid of the yellowish color on the bottom of the clouds using the same method. Now lets compare the original with the manipulated photo and conclude: its definitely better with the lilac clouds than the grey ones. I might have a bit overreacted with the saturation of that lilac… but hey… this is abstract not nature! 😛
After the JPEG compression of the camera, some images have a leak of contrast. Adobe Photoshop comes with 2 useful possibilities to increase the contrast: “Brightness and Contrast” and “Curves”. Also, there is a very basic “Auto Contrast” function which works in very few cases. “Brightness and Contrast” should be avoided because if often alters too much the tonal range of the image.
In “Image” -> “Adjustments”, select “Curves” and will firs notice a strait diagonal line. You will modify this line into a curve by dragging it down and up as shown in the image. Keep in mind to let the middle point at the same place, otherwise the picture will be overall brighter or darker than it should be. You can even obtain more than 3 anchor points but its not recommended, so just click on the line in the place you want the points to be. Remember to keep the Preview checkbox on to notice the changes and control what are you doing. Using this tool will give plenty of flexibility compared to other adjustment tools. Now lets see the results:
This is how the Adjustment of Colors in Photoshop can enhance a photograph from a dull one to an attractive one.