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Hue and Saturation in photo editing

3 min read

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The colors of a picture catch the eye of the onlooker at first glance. Many times, they leave a lasting impression. Colors in a picture are adjusted during the editing stage too. They are enhanced or sometimes dramatized, keeping the theme in mind. Hue and saturation are two properties of colors which are adjusted to come up with the perfect result.

Understanding Hue and Saturation

Understanding Hue and saturation separately is important to gain perspective on how they affect a picture. Hue is that component of color which defines it as ‘Red’ or ‘Green’ etc. Hue constitutes the pure colors i.e Primary colors- Red, Yellow and Blue and the Secondary colors- Orange, Green and Violet. All other colors are formed by mixing these. Hence Navy color has a ‘Blue hue’ and Burgundy has a ‘Red hue’. Hue and color are confused sometimes, when in reality they are both quite different. Color is a mixture of properties like hue, tint, shade, value and saturation. While each different hue corresponds to a different wavelength in the visible spectrum of light.

A color wheel is the best way to understand the importance of hue in photo editing. You can use hue to change the colorization of your picture while editing to change it’s look and feel. When you move in a clockwise direction, the reds and oranges in your picture will start changing to colors in the clockwise direction i.e yellows, greens and on towards blues. Similarly every color will start changing it’s hue to the next ones in the wheel. Conversely, moving in the anti- clockwise direction will change the hue of the colors in the anti-clockwise order i.e reds and oranges will move towards violets and blues.
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The Color Wheel

This is how you can edit the hues in your picture in the editing stage.

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Effect of changing Hue

Next comes Saturation, which as the name suggests, how pure or intense the color is. When saturation increases the color looks more vivid and clear. When saturation decreases the color starts turning gray. Saturation is important in photo editing to know how to colorize or decolorize your picture. It adds or subtracts vibrancy from a scene.

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Effect of increasing and decreasing the Saturation

Hue and saturation together help you to enhance or change the way the colors in a picture look. You can make it look more realistic or entirely change it according to the meaning you  want to convey.
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