Most of you folks by now know that I am colorblind… and yet I keep trying to give tips about color. I guess I am a glutton for punishment, but this tip should help both the color deficient as well as the color savvy. I use this technique all the time to make sure that I am not adding a funky color to the mix. (Of course, I can mess up even this technique. :D)

All of the Adjustment brushes, radial filters and graduated filters have the ability to introduce color into the effect. This can be extremely handy in helping the adjustment blend into the environment a bit better. Let me show you.

Here is a picture of my wife and son… it is cropped like this because my wife doesn’t like her smile in this one…tip is focusing on the top part of the picture, so I am just showing you the parts that won’t get me in trouble. 😀


Notice there are three areas that are pretty light and are drawing the eye away from the kid. I could paint in the areas with the adjustment brush, but I like the speed at which I can use the graduated filter and the radial filter… but the choice is up to you. When you apply the filter such as on the left corner… it works pretty well, but it has a little bit darker contrast.

no color

So let’s add a little color to help it blend. Go to the bottom of the adjustment panel and click on the little box next to Color… it will bring up the color picker panel.

color settings

click inside

That is great if you know what color you want… simply click inside the box and dial up or down the amount of saturation. Which is the S slider at the bottom of the panel.

However, if you are like me and not really sure what is the best color to choose… use this tip.


Click inside the color panel with the eye dropper, and while holding the click… move it to anywhere on the image to sample a color.

drag outside

For this instance I grabbed the color of the leaves around the area. (Actually for this screen shot I think I hit the branch. :D)

Now you can apply a color that come right from the scene.

color added

Compare the before and after.


Don’t forget… if you decide afterwards that it is a little too strong or too saturated, you can always go back and tweak it as many times as you like.




  1. Paul C 4 February, 2016 at 06:45 Reply

    Dear Pete – Please know how much we admire you and respect your skills and advice. Your first paragraphs puts yourself down so much and I worry you will end up believing that you are somehow a lesser mortal than the others you work with. This is a really, really great tip/reminder and is presented in a way that is so encouraging to your reader.

    So please believe us when we say that you are a first-class trainer with a massive personality that can rightly stand alongside the other photoshop guys with your head held high. Your values for family come through in every word you write and it is clear that you take your role as husband & father seriously and do a great job at it. In the few years you’ve been at K1 you have established yourself as someone that teaches beyond technique to where we learn to see our work through discerning eyes; to where we can feel really good about our work for what it represents in us rather than just impressing a customer.

    Keep going – these tips each Wednesday are awesome because I grow as an artist not just as a technician. THANK YOU

  2. Bill Bentley 3 February, 2016 at 17:51 Reply

    Thanks Pete. I knew about the eyedropper function from using the split toning module but forgot about using it to actually sample a color in the image.

    BTW, I didn’t know you were married to Helen Hunt. 🙂

  3. Dennis Zito 3 February, 2016 at 10:25 Reply

    I’ve used this tip often in Autumn photos that lack the color and saturation. It works Great! Excellent tip for the Group Pete!


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