A quick and easy guide to improving the color of your photos

by admin on August 28, 2009

I’ve often wondered how I could improve my photos that look kind of drab. You know, I wanted the colors to *pop* and everything to look vibrant. The first photo editing software I ever bought was PaintShop Pro. While a decent program, I never really liked how “clunky” and “obtuse” it seemed. Trying to accomplish simple tasks either took extra steps or it was hard to follow the necessary steps.

Well, I’m too cheap to buy Photoshop so I downloaded GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). There are a ton of tutorials out there and you can pretty much interchange a PhotoShop tutorial for GIMP as they are rather similar in menu setup and features. So anyway, I finally decided to try and edit some photos because I loved the photos, but the color just seemed bland and drab.

Edit:
I found a great (it was short and easy to understand, that = great in my book any day 🙂 ) tutorial that walked me through the process in four steps. Unfortunately, it appears that someone took down the wonderful tutorial so I’ll give the four steps here.

  1. Open your photo in GIMP (or Photoshop) and ‘right-click’ it, select Layers > Duplicate Layer
  2. Edit the ‘background copy’ you just made by going to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use 3.4 pixels as the settings
  3. Then, go to the ‘Layers’ floating toolbar and change the mode to Soft Light
  4. The last step is to go to Colors > Hue-Saturation > set Saturation to 87 for starters. You might need to adjust it for your particular photo, but this seems to be a great setting for making your photos *pop*

Merge your layers and save you new and improved photo! Easy as that :).

I took this photo from last year at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo from this:

Before making adjustments to photo

Before making adjustments to photo

I used the 4 Steps from the tutorial and in less than 60 seconds I had this:

Look at the difference!

Look at the difference!

The bad news is that now I am going to be going through thousands of old photos and finding ones that I can easily improve with this method. Who needs sleep, right?

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{ 2 comments }

Emi September 3, 2009 at 8:55 pm

When I clicked on the highlighted link for the tutorial, it took me to a page that said FORBIDDEN and would not let me have access. 🙁

admin September 4, 2009 at 6:48 am

Emi – it must have been taken down. I have added the steps to perform this easy photo editing to the post.

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