The desaturation trick

Do you hate colors and reflections in your pen hardware?

I’m going to reveal to y’all a few tricks that I use to minimize reflections and to remove extraneous colors from your pen hardware. Before I start I should let you know that this doesn’t work very well on gold and other yellow-tinted hardware. I have a trick for that stuff but it’s a bit more work so I’ll save that for another blog post.

For the first part, I’m using Photoshop. It doesn’t matter what version you have because hue/saturation adjustment layers have been around in Photoshop for like 20 years. This can be done in Lightroom but it’s not as easy, in my opinion.

The second tip can be done with some white cardboard or foam core.

I’ll start by showing you the before and after images. Slide that thingy left and right and you’ll see all the colors that are magically gone in the “after” image.

Those colors in the hardware aren’t necessarily wrong but they really warm up the black titanium and my goal with the product photo is to represent the colors as accurately as I can for the buyer.

To do this, I add a hue/saturation adjustment layer to the image and drag the saturation to -100. Then I use a white paintbrush and essentially paint away the colors on the pen hardware.

hue/saturation adjustment layer with saturation set to -100 hue/saturation adjustment layer with saturation set to -100

If you press ALT + click on the adjustment layer mask you can see the mask you’ve painted.

view of the mask view of the mask

Another trick…

My photo box isn’t enclosed so I have these white cards with flappy cardboard stands that I can maneuver around to ensure that I reflect white card back at the pen instead of my big head or the room behind me. With digital cameras and electronic viewfinders, you can move the cards around to see where the best place is to put them. It’s totally worth it! White cardboard for the win!

Ignore all the other contraptions on the Platypod. This is about white cards. Ignore all the other contraptions on the Platypod. This is about white cards.

There ya have it!

Those are two of my most effective retouching techniques so I guess I can just stop blogging about pen product photos, right?


There’s quite a bit of other content I have in mind so if feel free to subscribe if you’re interested in being notified when it’s released. I’m a one-man band here, making pens, photographing pens, selling pen, and writing about product photography and marketing so I promise I won’t pummel your inbox.

Thanks for reading!

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