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Create a Selective Color Image in Photoshop

Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And, the more impact that picture has, the more it has to say. The right image can be used to garner attention and tell a deliberate story with careful alterations. That’s why image enhancement plays such a major role in design and photography. With Photoshop, we can enhance an image to emphasize any element. One technique to emphasize an image is to turn it into a selective color image by adding color to a key element of the image to create a bold, colorful focal point. The following selective color image technique is used in creative advertisements, dramatic public service announcements, and especially in wedding photography.

Choosing The Right Photo

Applying effects to your imagery is great, but choosing the right image is a pivotal first step in creating a powerful photograph. You will want to consider the application and context in which you are using the photo.

Choosing the proper format and the right size is important as well. For example, if you are working on a wedding photo, it will most likely be printed. All wedding photos should be no less than 300 dpi, or dots per inch. This ensures that your images will be crisp and beautiful when they are printed. If you provide print services, then you will want to crop the image to standard photo sizes, such as 8″ x 10″ for a large portrait. Wedding photos are special, so in this case you want them to be as large as possible, because some couples will order poster-​​sized images to commemorate the occasion. Selective color images are great for wedding photos. The image below is cropped as an 8″ x 10″ photo. You can download the sample image here.

Original Photo


Cropped Photo


To use an effect like the selective color image technique, it is also important to choose the right composition. The intersections of the four lines above are considered focal points. Since the image already had a tilt to it to begin with, I rotated the image slightly during the cropping process so that the face would fall near to the top-​​left focal point and the bouquet would be aligned with the bottom-​​right focal point. This is a key factor when composing any image or design.