How to Change the Color of an Object in Photoshop

Changing the color of an object in Photoshop seems like it should be difficult. There should be brightness, shadows, and all these details you have to worry about to give the item dimension. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret…Photoshop makes this all a piece of cake!

Hello! My name is Cara, a self-proclaimed Photoshop expert, and lover of all things photography. Sometimes in my work as a food and product photographer, I don’t have props for my scene that are the right color. Has that happened to you?

However, once you know how to change the color of an object in Photoshop, you don’t have to stress about it too much. As long as you have a prop, you can adjust it to fit your color scheme. 

Let me show you how!

Quick Note: the screenshots in the tutorial below are based on Photoshop CC for Windows. If you are using Photoshop for Mac or other versions, they will look slightly different.

Step 1: Select the Object

To start, you have to tell Photoshop what area of the picture you would like to change. The Object Selection tool makes this quite simple so let’s choose it from the toolbar on the left.

It might be hidden behind the Quick Selection tool or the Magic Wand tool if you’ve used those tools previously. Right-click to pull out the menu and make it the tool on top for that set. 

In this image I got from Pixabay.com, I’m going to change the color of her dress as an example.

With the object selection tool active, make sure the mode is set to Rectangle in the Options bar.

Click and drag to draw a rectangle around the object.

Photoshop will then try to decide what you want to select and make a selection.

It won’t always be perfect, but you can fine-tune. Make sure the Object Finder box is checked in the Options bar and choose subtract from selection (or hold down the Alt or Option key while dragging) to remove unwanted parts. 

Draw a rectangle around the part of the selection you want to remove. 

You can also switch to another selection tool for difficult areas. I used the quick selection tool to work around the neckline. 

Step 2: Create a Group

We’re going to create a mask and apply more than one adjustment layer to it. We can use a group so that we can add multiple adjustment layers to the same mask. Click the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a group.

Now click the Mask icon to add a mask to the group.

Step 3: Choose Your New Color

Time for the exciting part! Also at the bottom of the Layers panel, click the Adjustment Layer icon. Choose Solid Color from the menu.

A color fill adjustment layer will appear in the Layers panel and the color picker will open. Choose whatever color you want. You can also click anywhere in the image to match a certain color if you like. Click OK when you’re happy with your selection.

Step 4: Change the Blending Mode

Obviously, at this stage, the change doesn’t look natural at all. The color is completely even – the same hue, saturation, and brightness throughout the object. Without the shadows and highlights, we get this unnatural effect. 

To bring back the contrast, let’s change the blending mode. Click the box near the top of the Layers panel that says Normal by default. A list of blending modes will appear. Choose Color from near the bottom.

Wow, that instantly looks so much better!

Step 5: Add a Brightness Layer

In this case, the dress doesn’t look too bad as it is. However, if needed you can finetune the brightness with a Brightness adjustment layer. You can also use a Levels adjustment layer if you prefer. 

Click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Brightness/Contrast.

Adjust the brightness and contrast to your liking.

What’s that? The sound of your mind being blown? Yep, who would’ve thought it would be so easy to change the color of an object in Photoshop!

Intrigued to learn more cool techniques? Check out one of our other tutorials such as how to add clouds to a photo in Photoshop.

About Cara Koch
Cara fell in love with photography circa 2014 and has been exploring all corners of the imagery world ever since. When she felt limited by Lightroom, she dove headfirst into Photoshop to learn how to create the images she wanted.

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