Have you ever wondered why some pictures look appealing while others look like a dull mush of colors? A lot of it has to do with the colors that are saturated & desaturated in your pictures. Using a color wheel we can match colors that go together and others that clash. Using a Color Scheme Designer it is easy to see what colors work and those that don't. Recently I have started to use Adobe Kuler for all my color theory and design. When starting to learn color theory I used these tools all the time for selectively saturating and de-saturating different colors in my pictures. Sometimes it is impossible to de-saturate a color, it just turns brown or looks like crap. In this case try darkening the color using a dodge/burn layer or a curves mask in Photoshop will keep it from standing out.
I use tons of software when I process photos & two of my favorites are Topaz Labs or HDR Soft the Makers of Photomatix. If you would like a discount when purchasing either of these packages just use the coupon code DAVEMORROWPHOTO when checking out to receive 15% off:)
Here are a few more tricks that I use when processing:
For HDR photos I pick my color scheme while the pics are still in Lightroom 4 & RAW format. This is the best time to saturate and desaturate certain colors with optimum picture quality.
Seeing some tones in your pictures that are comply lifeless? Try using the Vibrance setting instead of saturation. In Photoshop I have some actions that allow me to make vibrance layers, that mask out the saturated areas. This allows me to "vibrance paint" the dead/dull colors only without over saturating everything else.
Color can also be used to portray mood & feeling throughout a picture so plan accordingly.
Let your picture pick the first color you are going to use for your scheme. If the picture is mostly blue saturate some yellows or oranges to compliment the over all color.
Experiment as much as possible with different colors and how they work together, eventually you will no longer need the color wheel or scheme designer, but will find yourself knowing what to saturate and desaturate in your shots. This will increase the speed of your workflow as well as make post processing pictures much more enjoyable. It never hurts to pick complimenting colors when out shooting either, this makes it much easier to edit the picture later on.
Feel like you learned some valuable information? Donations of any size are always awesome!