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Solve Saturation Problems in HDR Images

When you shoot color photographs in high dynamic range (HDR) photography, it stands to reason that you’ll occasionally run into color problems. Tone mapped images don’t always come out of your favorite HDR application looking perfect. In fact, most of the time, they need further editing before they’re “perfect.” At times, you’ll see color problems — too much, too little, too much of a single color, or the wrong color.

Here are a few common problems and possible solutions (note the terminology — you can often use one of several techniques successfully).

Oversaturation means having too much color. It’s too intense. Most often, you’ll see this reflected in a general hue, such as purple or red. The left panel of this figure illustrates the base of a lamppost at sunset. It’s got far too much red in it.


Adjust oversaturation in Photoshop Elements by choosing Enhance→Adjust Color→Adjust Hue/Saturation. From the Hue/Saturation dialog box, choose the problem color from the drop-down list (it defaults to Master) and then reduce the saturation until the color looks right, as shown in the right panel of the figure.

Did you notice that the sunset doesn’t look as good after the desaturation? Use blending techniques to isolate the desaturated area to the lamppost.

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