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This chapter is from the book

Warming Up (or Cooling Down) a Photo

Before digital photography, you had to adjust your camera for each particular lighting situation (the photo might come out too blue or too warm because of the lighting). There were filters that you’d screw on to the end of a lens to help combat the effect. Well, Elements 6 has a Photo Filter adjustment, and it works so well at warming and cooling digitally that I don’t even carry those filters in my bag. Here’s how to use it:

Step One:

Open the photo that needs cooling down (or warming up). In the example shown here, the photo is too warm and has a yellowish tint, so we want to cool it down and make it look more natural. Go to the Layers palette and choose Photo Filter from the Create Adjustment Layer pop-up menu at the top of the palette (its icon looks like a half-black/half-white circle).

© ISTOCKPHOTO/PAUL KLINE

Step Two:

When the Photo Filter dialog appears, choose Cooling Filter (82) (or choose a Warming Filter if your image is too cool) from the Filter pop-up menu (this approximates the effect of a traditional screw-on lens filter). If the effect is too cool for you, drag the Density slider to the left to warm the photo up a little. I took mine down a bit to 21% to not cool down the skin tones too much. Then click OK.

Step Three:

Because this Photo Filter is an adjustment layer, you can edit where the cooling is applied, so press B to switch to the Brush tool. In the Options Bar, click on the down-facing arrow next to the Brush thumbnail and choose a soft-edged brush in the Brush Picker. Then, press X to make black your Foreground color, and begin painting over any areas that you don’t want to be cool (for example, if you wanted the grass to stay warm, you’d paint over that area). The original color of the image will be revealed wherever you paint.

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