How to Increase Color Saturation of a Picture in Mac OS X with Preview
An images color saturation is expressed by the intensity of the color of a picture, thus a picture modified with higher saturation will appear with vivid colors, and a picture with the lowest saturation winds up turning a picture to black and white. Adjusting saturation is a common photo editing technique to both enhance or decrease the vividness of a pictures color, and for the purposes here we will show you how to increase (or lower) the color saturation of any image in Mac OS X using the built in Preview app.
How to Adjust Color Saturation of Images with Preview for Mac OS X
The picture used in this example here is the default Lake.jpg wallpaper found in modern versions of Mac OS X. It’s a beautiful image on it’s own, but we’re going to increase the saturation to further emphasize the colors in the picture to demonstrate how this feature works, the result will be a more vivid version of the same lake image.
- From the Mac OS X Finder, locate a picture you want to change the color saturation for, you may want to make a copy of the picture before editing it but that is up to you, then double-click to open the picture into Preview app of Mac OS X, the default image viewer and editor
- Once the picture is open in Preview app, pull down the “Tools” menu and choose “Adjust Color” to bring up the color adjustment panel
- Locate the “Saturation” slider, to increase the images color saturation, slide the indicator to the right, and to decrease an images saturation, move the sliding indicator to the left
- When satisfied with the color saturation adjustment, go to the “File” menu and choose “Save” to save the changes to the existing file, or choose Save As to save the adjusted color profile image to a new file
How much to increase or decrease saturation depends entirely on the picture and the intended result, there is no right or wrong adjustment.
The video below walks through the process, as you can see it is quite fast to adjust color this way in Preview:
You’ll notice if you move the saturation slider all the way to the left at it’s lowest setting, the picture turns black and white. If you move the image saturation slider all the way to the right, the colors become extremely vivid and really pop out, which, depending on the images color starting point, can make a picture look brighter and more colorful, or completely garish.
In the image below, the left side picture has an increase in color saturation, and the right side picture is the original version.
For those wondering, yes, you can also adjust color saturation through the Photos app of Mac OS X, and you can also adjust color saturation in Photos for iOS on the iPhone and iPad too, but Preview for Mac is lightweight, fast, multifunctioned, and some may argue it’s even easier to use than the Photos app as a result.
Personally, I like Preview a lot, and it’s my preferred tool for quickly making adjustments and crops to any picture in Mac OS X. There are tons of other powerful features available in Preview too, so be sure to check out more Preview tips for Mac.