Create Impact for Dull Colour Photos

This tutorial will help show you how to add impact to your colour images – it will give you two simple methods using layers to boost yours colours and contrast, while allowing you to control how much or how little you want to add. There are numerous methods of improving the colours in an image, but the purpose of this tutorial is to assist beginners in photo editing and to help those interested in learning to become familiar with the use of adjustment layers.

Because it is designed for beginners, it uses simple adjustments but it also helps the beginner to gain some familiarity with layers, and the type of adjustments and tools available in photoshop. This tutorial uses layers, levels, and curves. If your version of photoshop doesn’t have the “curves” adjustment tools, you can substitute the levels tool.

This tutorial is meant to give your final image a realistic colour boost – it is not intended to create overly saturated or highly intense imagery. It will take the original sample image (below) to the final image shown here. You can download the original image from this post to test the tutorial on if you want.

A dull photo of the Niagara Falls River and the Horsehoe falls.

When you’ve completed the tutorial, you should have something that looks more like this, but not exaggerated. Keep in mind that this tutorial is not designed to save a batch of bad photos. It’s really meant to salvage that special photo that you only have one of, and really want to keep it.

● Editing methods such as this are not meant to save a very poor image.
● Do use them to enhance a good image as well as mediocre images
● Learn to shoot images using the correct settings.
● Getting it right in the camera is always the best method to use.


The final image with natural colour.

The downloadable .pdf tutorial contains detailed instructions for Photoshop and should also work for Photoshop Elements.  Some of the tool names may be slightly different and in slightly different locations in different versions of Photoshop Elements, so you may have look around your menu a little. Any other editing programs that also have a layers functions (Gimp, Photo Filtre,, etc.) and curves or levels can also make use of this tutorial, though you may have to look for the tools mentioned in the tutorial as different programs might use different terminology. Download the pdf for the tutoral below: