What is Color Saturation?
Color saturation is how much a color differs from its lightest and darkest shades. It is the ‘strength’ of a color. If you think about the rainbow, red is the strongest, violet the weakest.
In the real world, there are different ways of describing color saturation. For instance, blue is said to have more color saturation than purple. In nature, green grass has more color saturation than a red poppy.
The color of something that is saturated is usually described as a single shade. For example, the sky, the sun, and the ocean are saturated shades of blue.
Think of color saturation in relation to the colors that you see in the world around you. Look at your room, at the sky outside, at the colors of the flowers and trees in the park, and then at the colors of the food in the supermarket. You’ll notice that the colors of the items you look at are always a bit more saturated. The saturated colors in the world around us guide our vision. They help us recognize objects and form shapes. It’s the same for your senses – the more saturated the colors you see, the easier it is to identify them and understand them.
This means that the colors of the world around you influence your understanding of reality. You need to be alert to this, but the saturated colors around you should not dominate. You must be aware of other aspects of your surroundings, including the light, the shadows, the sounds, and the smells, in order to really understand the world around you.
There are three types of color saturation, which determine how much color you can see in a picture. First, there is luminance, which determines brightness. Second, there is chrominance, which determines hue and brightness. Thirdly, there is color saturation, which determines purity, intensity, and brilliance.
The basic principle is that the less luminance, the less pure color, and the less saturation the image has, the darker the background and the lighter the foreground. In fact, the term “saturation” is a bit misleading. Color saturation isn’t really about the amount of color in the image. Color saturation is actually about the purity of the color. Pure colors (pink and blue) have the greatest color saturation. More complicated hues like orange and purple have lower color saturation.
However, we tend to think of images as containing a mix of dark and light areas, so the amount of color saturation is important to us.
To calculate color saturation, simply multiply the percentage of color saturation by 100 and divide by the percentage of total luminance. For example, a color saturation of 50% means that 50% of the color is pure. Therefore, if there are 50% of any pure color in the image, then 50% of the image’s total luminance will be pure color. If you are working with black and white photographs, the percentage of luminance that is black and white is 100%.
If you are working with color photographs, use a color histogram, which is a graph that shows the different hues of the image. You should see a spike in color saturation, particularly around the center of the graph.
A color histogram can help to show you where the color saturation is highest and lowest in the photograph.
The color saturation of the subject is more important than the color saturation of the background. The background is usually of little importance.
When making a photograph, the color saturation of the background is most important when you are making a photograph of a subject that has very high contrast between the colors of the background and the subject.
You can use a color histogram to make sure that the color saturation of the subject matches the color saturation of the background.
Change the Saturation in an image
Select a photo from your computer. Open the photo in Photoshop, and open the color settings menu (image). Select the ‘Adjustments’ tab, then click the ‘Color’ button.
Select the ‘Hue/Saturation’ tab, select the ‘Saturation’ slider, and drag the slider to the left. The saturation of your photo will be adjusted.
To change the color saturation of a photo simply change the contrast setting on your camera. You can change the exposure settings, too, but these will affect the overall brightness of the picture, so you should only use this feature when you’re really keen on a particular effect.
If you’ve got a point-and-shoot camera, it’s probably on the back of the camera (with the shutter button) that you adjust the contrast setting. With some models, you might find it on the front of the camera or on the lens.
If your camera is digital, it might also be in the menu system. Look under Picture Styles and under Effects.
If you’re using a camera with a slide show function, you’ll see the control for changing the contrast on the display screen.