Brighten Colors Selectively

1. Open your image. I've taken a watermelon on a porch. It has few well-defines colors very suitable for this technique. Make a copy of the original image or just copy the background layer. You can make this original layer invisible; we won't need it any more, if only for reference.

image 1

2. Add an adjustment layer 'Levels' and brighten the image a bit.

image 2
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3. Add another adjustment layer 'Selective color' and start adjusting our colors. First of all it would be Green that is the most in the picture.

image 3
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4. Now comes Yellow:

image 4
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5. White:

image 5
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6. Black:

image 6
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7. And Neutral to give more volume to the porch.

image 7
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8. Merge all visible layers and change image mode to Lab (Image > Mode > Lab).

9. Open Channels tab in the Layers palette and choose Lightness channel. Go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask and use it on the image. Don't forget to change back to RGB mode.

image 8
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10. Copy the layer and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

image 9
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11. Set the top layer to Multiply and reduce its opacity to 25-35 %.

image 10

12. The last touch - add 'Levels' Adjustment layer and use black and white eyedroppers on the darkest and lightest parts of the image.

image 11
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You can compare the two images now:


image 12


Brighten Colors Selectively

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