The Sponge Tool is one of those Photoshop and Elements tools that is often overlooked. You can use this tool to selectively punch up the color in your digital images. Here’s how:
Open the image in Photoshop or Elements.
Since you’ll work on the photo itself, make a copy of your image by choosing choose Image > Duplicate in the full version of Photoshop or File > Duplicate in Elements.
Get the Sponge Tool which shares a space on the toolbar with the Dodge and Burn Tool. Just click and hold to find the Sponge tool beneath them if they are hiding the Sponge tool.
In the Tool Options bar (at the top or bottom of the editing window), choose a brush that is a good size for the part of the photo you want to alter.
Change the Mode to Saturate and reduce the Flow to about 20%.
In the full version of Photoshop, also tick the Vibrance box.
Click and hold while you scrub over parts of the image to pump up the color.
The more you click and scrub, the more vibrant the colors become.
Variation: To dull the color of parts of the image, use the Sponge tool, choosing Desaturate from the Options. Scrub the areas you want to dull down. This helps your color portions to stand out.