ArchivesChanging Colours

All Colour Change Tools in LR and PS

This lesson is aimed at giving you multiple tools in your toolbox, so whether you want to:

  • change the colours in a subtle and natural way across your image
  • do extreme colour changes
  • fix stubborn colours
  • fix colour casts

You will have a range of options to try and achieve the results you want.

Remember, often in editing it’s better to:

  • build up effects gradually
  • use multiple tools and/or layers to build up to the effect you want

So if you aren’t getting the result you want immediately from one layer or one attempt…. do something else, or duplicate your layer, or add a layer that’s going to modify the effect.

A list of the tools covered & when I would use them

This is not an exhaustive list of uses, because what you create is limited only to your creativity. Take this photo of Loki underwater. Did you know it started as an underexposed twilight photo of him in the snow? Could I have included “turn your underexposed twilight photo into an underwater scene” in this list? That’s oddly specific! It’s impossible for me to cover every minute scenario you might want to create in the list below, so take the general concepts and ideas and see if you can apply them to your individual situations as they come up. 

Tool/Technique
Uses
White Balance
Get your image to the “correct” colours, or use it to affect the mood
HSL Panel
Change colours if you use LR only, or start to move the colours in a direction you want them, for further editing in PS
Mask out the background: Temp/tint
Edit colours in LR only, use the temp/tint sliders to add colour to the background. Be aware of dodgy masking
Mask out the background: Hue/Sat
Shift the whole colour scheme of the background using the hue slider. Doesn’t usually have the nicest results if you have multiple colours.
Selective colour layer
My favourite! Great for working on individual colour ranges, splitting colours, doing big or subtle colour shifts, fixing colour casts, green to red autumn, making things more deep cyan, making golden hour more orange, etc… pretty much everything except EXTREME colour changes (eg., make background blue).
Colour Lookup
Can be useful for some special effects, eg., day to night, blue snow, grungy urban, etc.
Gradient map
Adds colours to different parts of the light spectrum. Remember to change the blend mode.
Hue/saturation
Select a colour range to just adjust the hue of those colours. Desaturate to tone down colours, and remove colour casts from black/white/grey areas. Colourize can be used for more extreme colour changes
Colour Balance
White balance tool but more sophisticated, adding colour to different areas of the light spectrum. Good for warming up highlights, turning things blue or purple, or fixing colour casts
Curves
Mostly great for adding depth/richness to colours. You can also work on each RGB channel to add colours to shadows, highlights or midtones, but I don’t personally like the effects.
Gradient
Great for adding some effects to your images. Multiple ways of using, from adding some pale coloured light with Radial style, to adding colour and contrast with a linear gradient set to “soft light” blend mode. Another interesting way to use it for colour grading/inspiration is to change the “Type” in the colour picker to “Noise”, reduce the “Roughness”, and hit “randomise”. So pretty! Change the blend mode for different effects. This is really more of an “inspiration” than maybe a method to colour-grade but who knows, you might end up with something really nice!

Changing Colours Workshop

In this workshop, we will be learning several methods to change the colours of your photo.

The recording of the workshop is available below.

There are many times and situations where we might want to change some or all of the colours in our photo. In this workshop, we’re going to look at both the how and why of changing colours, as well as covering multiple tools in both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop in order to create the effects we want.

We will be looking at:

  • Options in Lightroom:
    • HSL Panel
    • New masking features
  • Options in Photoshop:
    • Selective Colour
    • Hue/Saturation
    • Using your smart object
    • Colour Balance
    • Gradient map
    • Gradient fill

We have two RAW files for this workshop. One, we will work on together, and the other you will have a chance to edit at the end of the workshop in your own time. 

There are actually 5 RAW files there. We will work on “Colour Change-1” together in the workshop to turn green to autumn. You can then download any of the Journey files you like, and work on making it a more deep, rich mossy green.

Please remember: you are welcome to edit and share your edits to Social Media, but they must link back to me, and not be used for commercial purposes.

There is also a downloadable .pdf workbook in the folder