Fall is my favorite time of year! Summers can be hot and humid in Michigan so the cooler, crisp air of autumn is always refreshing. I love to haul out the sweaters and boots and drag, err, I mean bring my kids out to shoot in the vibrant fall colors. But sometimes, when mother nature doesn’t cooperate, I have to create fall colors in Photoshop.
Don’t get my wrong, I’m lucky to live in a region that has pretty spectacular fall colors. But, I know that is the not the case for everyone. And, sometimes I don’t get out to take photos until past the peak time for ideal fall colors. But, when I still want my images to have that warm autumn pop of color, I can go ahead and create fall colors in Photoshop.
Luckily, Photoshop makes it easy to manipulate the colors of the foliage to bring out fall tones. There are many ways to change colors in Photoshop, but my favorite way for bringing out autumn tones and fall colors in trees is to use a Selective Color adjustment layer. With this method, I’ve found that by manipulating the yellow and red channels, I can push the greens, yellows, and reds to a more fall-like color palette.
Here’s how to create fall colors in Photoshop:
1. First, I create a Selective Color adjustment layer using the adjustments panel on the right side of my screen in Photoshop.
2. Inside the Selective Color properties panel, I select the red channel from the “colors” drop down menu and then push the cyan slider to -30 and the yellow slider to +30.
3. Then I switch to the yellow channel from the “colors” drop down menu and push the cyan slider to -70, yellow to +90, and black to +5. I sometimes tweak these sliders, but this is my starting point.
4. I then invert my layer mask on the Selective Color adjustment layer by pressing Ctrl-I or Cmd-I. From there I use a soft white brush at a low opacity to build up the color on the leaves and really amp up the fall colors in the photo.
Watch me edit a photo to make the trees look more fall-like.
In the video below I show my exact steps for achieving fall tones. I also show you how to save a preset for selective color so that next time you want to push your tree colors towards more fall tones, it’s easy peasy!
I hope you’ll try this easy tutorial on how to create fall colors in Photoshop. And, if you do, I’d love to see your results!
Photos by Mickie DeVries