Use Photoshop to Change the Color of Objects in Your Photos

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Use Photoshop to Change the Color of Objects in Your Photos

Photoshop is a powerful tool that can be used to do pretty much anything in a picture. Photoshop has is the power to change the color of objects in a photograph without harming the natural texture. Today, I will teach you how to easily change the color of part of your image while retaining the existing colors on the rest of it. If you want the easiest way to change colors, try the MCP Inspire actions (the color changer actions make this super fast).

Inspire jess rotenberg

If you want to try this yourself, here’s some quick keys that will help you:

1: “Q” enables the quick mask mode. You paint the red with the brush tool and when you are done hit “Q” again to turn the mode off

2: To make a straight line from one point to the other, hold the shift key down and click the point you want to end with. Photoshop will create a straight line from the initial point to the last point. This is very useful when using the lasso tool.

3: Hold the space-bar to move the image around.


Let’s get started:

I have a picture that is unedited but the bride asked if the car could be another color.

With the image loaded, I first duplicate the layer. With the duplicate layer selected, press the “Q”key to enable the “Quick Mask” Mode. Using the brush tool paint the item you want to change. You don’t have to be perfect because we are going to refine it later.

After you paint the part you want to change, hit the “Q” key to exit quick mask mode and the OUTSIDE of the area is now selected.


Next, Click Select>Inverse or click key Shift + CTRL + I: PC or Shift+ Command + I: Mac, to reverse your selection. Now the truck is selected.

Since the car is now selected we want to establish this as a mask. Before we do this we want all the color changing in its own group. Select the “New Group” Icon in the layer window then click the Mask icon in the same bar. This creates a group that only edits the car.

Now we can change the color. With the group selected, navigate to the Adjustment the left and click the “Hue and Saturation” tab. Use the slider to alter the color to your liking. You can also adjust the brightness and saturation of the color in the same box.

Used in this project and related actions:


And watch the car change colors.

Once you have found the color you want and are satisfied, click on the layer mask box and paint on or off areas as needed. This will take some finessing to change the small details.

Once satisfied, I save the image as a PSD file then flatten the layers and apply my favorite MCP actions to edit it further.

You can use this technique to accomplish many new looks. You will find that the “Photo stalkers” will be trying to find the purple wall and it doesn’t exist. Use this info to your advantage marketing wise. Set yourself apart with your own rendition of the same locations that others have.

This color changing technique also works well to take out some yellow in teeth. Do all of the above but instead of adding color, use the saturation and take color out. It will not make a pearly set of “Choppers” but the yellow and coffee stains will go away and it is more visually appealing.


*Yes I will admit that the yellow toothed fine looking fellow is myself. To my defense I drink Russian Tea in the morning and this shoot was at 9am. As for my 5 o’clock shadow, it actually is a 9 o’clock am. Rich Reierson, the photographer and author of this post can be found on Facebook.

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  1. January 27, 2014 at 11:34 pm —

    Nice work! After obtaining horrible results using Photoshop’s Color Replacement Tool (awful!!!) I tried your method. This worked fantastic ~ I will add this skill to my Photoshop arsenal! Thanks for your great tutorial!!

  2. November 12, 2013 at 11:09 am —

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. I just used your technique to change the colour of some sun shelters for a client.

    One question, how do you change to a specific color? With the hue adjustment, you seem to have to eyeball it. Is there a way to be more exact?

  3. July 7, 2013 at 12:05 am —

    I’m confused like MRoss, too. I duplicate layer, press Q for Quick Mask mode, ‘colorize’ the wall I want to change using the brush tool, press Q, again, and it selects the entire image. What step was left out? In your tutorial, it shows you’ve selected the vehicle or … I am totally lost. Please assist! Otherwise, the tutorial seems amazing!

  4. Kisa
    April 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm —

    How would it be posible to colorize part of an image to be a specific pantone color? Is there an extra step as part of this or a different technique altogether? Thanks!

  5. April 18, 2013 at 6:48 am —

    Awesome tutorial – really needed this. I’m noob to Photoshop 🙂

  6. C
    February 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm —

    What about fixing the color of shadows reflected from the object. For instance, the blues in the girl’s wedding dress.

  7. Mobashir Ahmad
    December 31, 2012 at 1:00 am —

    Can I get the colors replaced of some of my pictures from you? If so, what are the terms and conditions?

  8. Mobashir Ahmad
    December 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm —

    It’s a quick way to replace colors. However, it’s hard for novices to pick follow it.

  9. MRoss
    December 10, 2012 at 10:04 am —

    I have been attempting to use this technique but I can’t get past the first couple of steps. I open the picture, duplicate the background layer, press “Q” for quick-mask mode, use the brush tool to paint the area and then press “Q” again. When I do, it exits quick-mask mode and selects the entire picture rather than only the area I used the brush tool on.
    Am I missing something? Thanks for any help I can get!

  10. Billye Woodruff
    October 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm —

    Very helpful. Would love to see this as a video tutorial!!!!

  11. March 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm —

    Sara, The texture was applied on a separate layer and blended in using the layer adjustment selector and masking it off of the bride. Feel free to PM me on facebook.

  12. Sara Campbell
    September 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm —

    Thank you for this tutorial. What MCP action did you uses for the texture at the end?

  13. Deb
    September 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm —

    Awesome information. Thanks so much for sharing your workflow ideas and shortening my learning curve. My photography MoJo was going a little numb til you revved me up with all these great ideas! ¡Muchas gracias!

  14. September 19, 2011 at 7:42 pm —

    PhotoShop Elements 9. “Q” opens the shapes tool. “Ctrl + Q” is for Quit. I’ll have to keep working on this. I love the idea and am going to learn how to do it on my program.

  15. Heidi
    September 19, 2011 at 10:34 am —

    Photoshop Elements (I have PSE7) has a tool for doing exactly this, called the Color Replacement brush. It is grouped with the other brushes.

  16. Apixelintime
    September 19, 2011 at 10:21 am —

    Lisa – I have done this before with a senior who wanted the yellow dress that she was wearing to be the blue of the prom dress that she wore to prom. One thing that gave me fits, and I see it here as well is the reflective color of the original paint of the car is showing on her white dress. It is very subtile but it is there and may need some attention. In my case, I selected her arm to another layer and fiddled a little with the hue/sat and then adjusted opacity to look more natural.

  17. September 19, 2011 at 9:29 am —

    While there are a hundred different ways to accomplish any one task within photoshop. This is perhaps the fastest and simplest way to color swap. While I have been changing car and clothes colors for some time, I am stunned that it never donned on me to use this same technique to change wall colors, other items when shooting on location. That part was my own little “DUH!” moment. 🙂

    Great tutorial, thanks for sharing. Oh and the bit about de-yellowing the teeth was also a bit of brilliance. Where you are right it won’t produce a radiant white smile, I personally think your method produces teeth that look much more natural and realistic, and not yellow. LOL

    Again, thanks for sharing!

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Use Photoshop to Change the Color of Objects in Your Photos