This tutorial will go over a few methods to help you adjust color in older, washed out, color pictures. Lena asked me which question on our Facebook Page!
Let’s take a look at the image we’re going to be starting with:
Clearly, you can see that the photo is washed out, and has a very ‘warm’ feel to it. There are a few things we can do in order to improve the overall quality of the photo, and bring back some of the original colors. We’re going to also be working completely non-descructively in this tutorial. This means, all of the adjustments we make to this image, will be editable and reversible later on.
One of the most common adjustments are Levels. Most people, when using Levels, assume that it’s only used to adjust “light and dark” areas. Well, you can actually do a lot of color adjustments as well! Go ahead and add a Levels adjustment layer!
The first section of the adjustment that pops up, is the most common. This will allow you to adjust your Shadows, Midtones and Highlights, simply by dragging their handles.
However, if you click on “RGB”, we’re now able to select any of our other channels, Red, Green and Blue, and edit those too!
Now, you should notice that there are gaps on your histogram. This is indicating that there is a lack of that color, whether it be the Shadows, Midtones, or Highlights. Dragging that handle to an area where there is a visible curve will help bring that color back into the photo.
Once you finish adjusting the levels, you should have a result similar to the one below: