Change Color in Photoshop: Three Simple Ways

change color in photoshopWhen editing images, there will likely be a time that you’ll need to change the color of something in the image. Maybe the white balance is off, making orange tones look a bit too green for your liking. Or maybe someone is wearing a red shirt, but you’d really prefer it if they were wearing a green shirt. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to know how to change color in Photoshop. Luckily, this process is not as difficult as it may seem! You’re about to learn three simple ways to change the color of an object in Photoshop, using the Color Replacement Tool, Selective Color, and Replace Color.

Ready to modify colors, but aren’t well-versed in Photoshop yet? No worries! Enroll in Photoshop beginner’s course before completing this tutorial to get more familiar with the program.

The Color Replacement Tool

The Color Replacement Tool is located on your toolbar, and it looks like this:

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In order to find this tool, click and hold down on the Brush Tool.

I have chosen a simple photograph of hand-picked raspberries for this tutorial. To start out, I’d recommend choosing a photograph without too many similar colors. The more complicated the photograph, the more complicated this process will be. Once you have mastered this tutorial, feel free to work on any photograph you’d like!

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We are going to change the color of the raspberries. In order to use this tool, you’re going to need to set your foreground color to the color you want your raspberries to be. Take a look at the bottom of your toolbar, and you’ll see two overlapping squares – one black and one white. Click on the top square.

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You’ll see a new window pop up, allowing you to choose any color you’d like. Once you have chosen your color, click ‘Ok’.

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Take a look at the top of your screen. You’ll see options saying Mode, Limits and Tolerance. You’ll also see your brush options, such as size and hardness.

A useful tip: if you want to change the size of your brush easily, use the left and right bracket keys. The left bracket key ( ) will make your brush smaller, while the right bracket key ( ] ) will make your brush larger. Want to easily change the hardness? Simply press the same two brackets while holding down the shift key. The left bracket will make the edges softer while the right bracket will make them harder.

The Mode should be set to Color, since you’re only trying to change the color. Your Limits should be set to Contiguous, and your Tolerance you can play around with, but I have mine set at 38%. This allows me to paint over the red edges of the raspberries, yet still remain within the raspberry and not bleed out onto the hand.

Now begin to paint on the area of your photograph that you want changed.

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See how they’ve changed to a more mauve color? You can use this tool on anything in your photograph that you want to change, and by changing the Mode to Hue, Saturation or Luminosity, you can change all of those aspects of the photograph as well.

Selective Color

In order to use this tool, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color.

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A box will pop up, all you have to do is click ‘Ok’. Now you’ll see this:

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Because my raspberries are red, I’m going to keep the Colors selection on Reds. If your color is closer to something else, use that drop down tool to select Greens, Yellows, etc.

Now you can use the sliders below to change the Reds in your photograph. When you change the sliders, you can see the changes affecting your final photograph. I set my sliders to this:

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And my raspberries now look like this:

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If you have too many colors that are too similar in your photograph, you’ll find that this tool begins to replace parts of your photograph that you don’t want changed. If this is the case, use one of your selection tools before selecting the Selective Color Tool.

If I don’t select my raspberries, this is what will happen:

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Yuck! But if I use my Magnetic Lasso Tool (the third tool down on your toolbar): Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 12.32.23 PM I can select the raspberries so that only they are affected.

I click to select a point right on the edge of one of my raspberries, and then move the mouse around the rest of the raspberries back to my original point. By using the Magnetic Lasso Tool, Photoshop will naturally follow the contours of the raspberries.

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Now if I make the same adjustments, you’ll see that only the raspberries are affected.

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Feel free to use the Lasso Tool, Polygonal Lasso Tool, or Magic Wand to select parts of your photograph before changing the color!

Replace Color

In order to use this tool, go to Image > Adjustments > Replace Color.

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You will see this box pop up:

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You see how the Eyedropper Tool is selected? This tool is going to be used to tell Photoshop what color you want to replace in your image. I made sure this tool was selected, and then I clicked in the little icon of my image right on the raspberries. Now, if you have a lot of similar colors in your image, you’ll notice that having the Fuzziness Level set to 200 is going to change a lot of those colors as well. By setting that to a lower number, it will only change the color you selected. For this photograph, I set my Fuzziness to around 111. Now, you just play around with the Hue, Saturation and Lightness Sliders until you reach your desired result.

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Voila! Three easy ways to replace color in Photoshop. If you’re having difficulty with any of these three ways, remember: use one of your selection tools first!! Selecting the exact part of the image that you want to replace the color of will make the process much easier.

Once you have mastered changing the color of something simple such as these raspberries, you can move on to more complicated parts of an image such as hair and skin tone. Keep practicing, and you’ll be a pro in no time!

If you’re struggling with your selection tools, have no fear. Our in-depth Photoshop course will teach you everything you need to know about selections, masks, layers and more! Want to only learn about selections? We have a course specifically designed to teach you everything you need to know about all of the selection tools available!