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Fix Skin Color in Photoshop Elements 4 with One Click

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If the people in your digital photos look like aliens, try Matt Kloskowski's tricks with Photoshop Elements to return their skin to a more normal color. (If they really are aliens, of course, we can't help you there.)
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Have you ever taken a photo in which the subject’s skin makes her look like she’s from another world—where people are orange, yellow, blue, or red?

Like it or not, digital cameras make decisions for us. For the most part, we don’t want to be bothered with every little lighting and color choice when taking a picture, so we give up control to the camera for the sake of ease of use. As a result, we often get photos with color that isn’t ideal—the people in the picture just don’t look right. Perhaps they’re too blue or red as a result of standing near some colorful object. Even more common is the image with people who look yellow or orange, the result of taking a photo indoors without a flash. You may not think that the lights in your house look yellow, but the camera doesn’t lie.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is such a common problem that Photoshop Elements 4 actually has a tool specifically made to fix skin color. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how easy it is to adjust skin color, using two different quick methods.

Method 1: One-Click Fixes

Most of the time, the Adjust Color for Skin Tone feature in Photoshop Elements 4 can fix off-color skin tones in a picture with a single click. To give it a whirl, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Photoshop Elements 4, choose File > Open, and open the photo that needs adjusting. I’m using the image in Figure 1 for this example. The woman in the image looks kind of yellow-orange. She actually has a nice tan, but you can’t really tell by this image.
    Figure 01

    Figure 1 A photo with skin color that isn’t quite right.

  2. Choose Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Color for Skin Tone. The Adjust Color for Skin Tone dialog box appears (see Figure 2).
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 The Adjust Color for Skin Tone dialog box.

  3. This feature is really easy to use. All you need to do is move your cursor over an area of skin in the photo that has a weird color to it and click once. As soon as you do it, Photoshop Elements will miraculously fix the skin color in the image (see Figure 3).
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 Newly adjusted skin color.

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