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Photoshop Elements Adjust Color for Skin Tone Command

by Sara Froehlich

Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 has several new tools to help photographers adjust images. One of these in the Adjust Color for Skin Tone command. As well as improving color in a photo, it has a surprising use as well: it makes a great sepia tone image.

Open a photo with people that needs a tonal adjustment. The overall tone of this photo is too blue.


Tonal Adjustments Using Skin Tone

Elements new Adjust Color for Skin Tone command adjusts photos for a more natural skin tone. Choose Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Color for Skin Tone to bring up the command dialog.


Check the Preview box so you can see the results on the photo. When you hover the cursor over the image, it becomes an eyedropper. Click on an area of the photo with skin, and Elements adjusts the skin tone and the rest of the photo for a more natural skin tone. Use the Tan and Blush sliders to adjust the brown and red tones in the photo if needed, and use the Ambient Light slider to adjust the ttemperature of the photo to cool it down or warm it up. When you are satisfied with the results, click OK.


The skin tones are more natural and the surroundings look better too.


Creating a Sepia Tone Image

Open a photo you’d like to convert to sepia. It can be color or black and white to start with, but the first step will be to convert it to shades of gray.


Notice I did not say convert it to grayscale? Grayscale is a color mode that supports 256 colors, so some of the richness and tonal scale of your photo is lost. Another side effect of converting photos to grayscale is that many filters and commands no longer work because the image must be in RGB mode to use them. Instead of converting to grayscale, you should desaturate. Desaturating removes the color from the image, and it appears to be grayscale, but it is still an RGB mode image, with all of the versatility in editing as well as support for millions of colors still intact. To do this, go to Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color.


Open the Adjust Colors for Skin Tone dialog and use the eyedrapper to click on the photo, and it converts to a sepia tone. Adjust the skin and ambient light settings to fine-tune the tone. If you prefer a tinted sepia, you cna use these sliders to add a slight tint of color.



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©2005-2008 Sara Froehlich