maximize your color

Blue Hour Boating


This image was taken last night during civil twilight from our local marina located at Buck Creek State Park. What you are looking at is the final image after post processing. The "blue hour" after sunset is the perfect time to capture brilliant colors. The reds and blues that result from the sun setting behind the horizon can be spectacular. This kind of display begs for you to get the most out of your colors. Don't settle for ordinary colors.


Blue Hour Original Boats


This is the image SOOC (straight out of the camera) and though the colors are there, they are somewhat subdued. I want to maximize the color and make it explode out of the image. How do I do that?

I get over the top colors by making color adjustments in my photo editor. I use Apple's Apurture for my relatively straight forward image adjustments. However, when I need something more complex like multiple layers and localized adjustments, I turn to Photoshop, a tool that I use professionaly as well as on my personal work.  In thi simage, I want the blues and reds to come to life. Adjusting two seperate colors in different areas of the image requires multiple layers and layer masks… that means Photoshop.


Blue Hour Red Boats


First step is to copy the original layer twice, once for the blue and once for the red adjustments. I will save the original layer image unchanged in case I need to go back to it. In the image above, I have adjusted the reds so that they are stronger than in the original. I repeat the same process with the blues on a separate layer.

Notice that as I adjusted the reds, the entire image is changed. The blues are more purple and there is now a lot of red in the white boat that I don't really want. By placing the red layer on top of the blue layer and by adding a layer mask to the red layer, I can "paint" out the areas of the red layer that I don't like. This will allow the blue layer to show through from beneath. Using a soft brush with low transparency settings, I can slowly build up the blues that I need in the final image.


Blue Hour Boating


Once again, here is the final image. Notice the vibrant colors. I was able to showcase Ma Nature's color show without ruining the whites and greens that I wanted to remain untouched. Don't be afraid to maximize your colors when the occasion calls for vibrant hues. Go ahead, don't settle, knock your viewer's socks off.


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