In my Facebook photography groups I often see people asking how to change the color of something in their photo that is white or very pale. Adjusting the hue/saturation usually doesn’t work because there is little or no color to change. However, there is an alternative method that is very quick and simple. This works in both Photoshop and Elements.
Let’s use this adorable picture of baby Mia and change her white headband to match the pink blanket.
- select the eyedropper tool and click on the pink blanket to select the color you want
- add a solid color adjustment layer
- change the blend mode to color
- invert the mask
- select a small soft brush and paint the new color over the white headband
- to fine tune the color click on the color fill layer thumbnail
Does all that sound like mumbo-jumbo? Don’t worry! Detailed step-by-step instructions coming right up!
First, select the eyedropper tool:
Now click anywhere on the blanket to select the pink color. Try and get a darker shade as that will work better. Next go to your layers panel and add an adjustment layer – click on the circle that is half white and half shaded and choose ‘Solid Color’ from the pop up menu:
The white box with the blue border is the mask. This is what we will use to apply the new color to only the parts of the image that we want to change. But first we need to change the blend mode. Click on the box that says ‘Normal’ and select ‘Color’:
Now comes the fun part! Zoom in close to the area you want to change color (a 100% zoom is usually needed). Adjust the size of the brush so it is small enough to fit inside the headband without going over the edges, and carefully paint the new color over the white:
If you make a mistake, switch to a black brush (press X) and paint the new color off again. Switch back to a white brush (X) to continue painting color on. When you are done zoom back out to see how it looks!