Selective Color

One of the Photoshop techniques that I enjoy applying to some of my photos involves desaturating the image to remove all of the color and then selectively painting portions where I want to bring it back. It can make an artistic statement, draw the eye to a particularly lovely element, or help to make the primary subject matter stand out from a similarly-colored background. Here are a few that I’ve been playing with over the last several months…


Black Bear footprint & sycamore leaf

California Black Bear (Ursus americanus californiensis) footprint with fallen California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa) leaf in mud.

American Bullfrog & aquatic plants

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) hiding among aquatic plants in pHake Lake at the Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station.


Aphid & Laurel Sumac leaf

Aphid on young Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina) leaf.

Harsi / July 20, 2011 / amphibians, arthropods, mammals, photography, plants, tracks


  1. ro - July 21, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    I love that technique but I don’t have photoshop. Many times I’ve wanted to use it for my jewelry. Do you use a Mac?

  2. Harsi - July 21, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

    Oh, I could totally see this effect working wonderfully for some of your jewelry photos!! There are likely other programs out there that will let you do something similar, but if you’re itching to try something out with one of your pics now, I’d be more than pleased to follow your instructions and do it for you. It would be fun to be one of the little elves behind-the-scenes of your lovely revolving jewelry gallery! Yes, I use a Mac.


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