Two years ago I wrote about Tony Kuyper’s Luminosity Masks for Photoshop and how they helped me to extract more detail from my image files. My image processing technique has evolved since then and it’s really transformed my ability to execute upon my original vision. Now I’ve recently started to use Tony Kuyper’s Saturation Masks for Photoshop, which is more subtle in effect than the luminosity masks but quite an effective tool to have.
Tony Kuyper’s Saturation Masks are for advanced Photoshop users that want total control over the processing of your images but once you get the hang of them you can’t really go back to the old method of global layer adjustments. With the saturation masks, I was able to selectively apply saturation to areas of the image that would benefit from it while the rest of the image is left alone. For this particular image, the highlights on the ridges received some saturation boost while the shadow areas did not. I typically want a neutral-color in the shadows with minimal color cast so this was perfect for me. This also allowed me to accentuate certain areas more than I would have with a global adjustment because things can quickly start looking cartoonish with global adjustments.
The misconception that some people have is that advanced Photoshop use means excessive image manipulation. This can be true in some instances but it really depends on the photographer. I mainly shoot images for the editorial market so my goal is to transform my three-dimensional experiences from real life into this two-dimensional photography medium but also stay true to the essence of what I saw before me. My goal is not to use advanced post-processing techniques for deception but to optimize my images for the best viewing experience. Unlike the human eye, cameras have limitations as they are just soulless computer chips that collect light but with advanced tools like Tony Kuyper’s Saturation Masks, it helps me to bring my images to life and closer to how I felt when pressing the shutter.