May 08, 2012
Categories: Tutorial Tuesday
Tutorial Tuesday: Background Color Change
Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday! Sarah of Naptime Momtog and I will be bringing you a new challenge every week, to stretch your shooting and editing skills. This week, I’d like to present to you what I think is a fairly quick and easy change…at least once you know how to do it – changing the color of your background.

Actually, let me not limit this tutorial only to backgrounds. I’ve used this approach to change part of an image such as a door or shirt color, in addition to changing an entire background. The approach we’re using can also be replicated in either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements since we’ll be utilizing the hue/saturation adjustment layer. 

But before we get ahead of ourselves…let’s watch the video tutorial.

Quick and easy right? And if you’re sitting on your end saying “no Ashley, I’m completely lost,” no worries – I often have to watch and rewatch a tutorial several times…then practice it a few times before it all makes sense. I don’t know of many people who learned how to use Photoshop overnight – most of us spend many hours of our time learning how to do various editing techniques.

Anyways, here’s my original image. It’s a variation of another image that I submitted to my cousins as part of their graduation portrait package. We all really liked this door that Emily is standing by – I think it offsets her outfit nicely.
Emily Original RS
In case you don’t feel like watching the video tutorial or you just want to see the steps laid out in print, here’s what I did: 
  1. Ran a clean edit on my image. What you see above is not my SOOC shot, but a clean edited image using my favorite action: Perfect Portrait 3 by the Coffeeshop Blog.
  2. Used the quick selection tool (located in the tool bar on the left side of your screen) to select Emily. 
  3. Right-clicked and selected the inverse of my selection. This selected my background. You’ll see a layer mask in your image that will have your subject in black and the background in white (white reveals a change, black hides it).
  4. I then selected my hue/saturation panel – using the master sliders (if you really want to fine tune a color, you can use the drop down to select a specific color), I brought my hue down to -144, my saturation to -4 and my lightness to -3 (see screenshot below).
  5. Finally, I cleaned up my edges using a soft white brush at 20% opacity (my selection left some of the background in her hair).
ScreenHunter_01 May. 07 12.35

That’s it! I’m sure you can make it more complicated if you really want to or use the color balance adjustment panel to really play with your colors but this particular approach is pretty easy to use. The result of those adjustments is a blue door that I think beautifully works with Emily’s eyes.
Emily Background change RS
Granted, I rarely if ever take the time to make this sort of adjustment, but you never know when it will come in handy. Here’s a look at my original image (left) and my adjusted image (right). What do you think?
Emily Before and After

Ready to join in the fun? Here’s how to do it:
1. Watch THIS TUTORIAL on YouTube (or follow the steps above).
2. Choose your favorite creation (or more!) to share with us.
3. Don’t forget to grab the button for your post!
4. Link up between now and next Monday.
Tutorial Tuesday

PS: If you have any photography or editing suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let Sarah or me know! We would love to feature your tutorial. 
14 COMMENTS

    Wow, that is incredible! I would never have guessed you changed that background, and I think it was a great choice of color b/c the blue really compliments her eyes. Very helpful tutorial, thank you!

    Great tutorial. I had to laugh, this was totally going to be my tutorial for next week. I guess I will push this back a little. ;)

    Another great idea for me to try! Thanks so much to you and Sarah for teaching me so many creative new techniques! I love coming here each week.

    Oh wow! This is so cool and looks so easy!

    wow! great tutorial! love that you share these!! thank you!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this as it’s something I’ve been puzzled about for a while! I love the shot – you’re right that the original colour goes so well with the look of the outfit but I like the blue complimenting her eyes also. It totally changes the picture!

    This is AWESOME. I actually saw it on Pinterest this morning & pinned it thinking I would come back & check it out when I had time. (I was pinning from my phone while exercising on the bike) So excited to see that it was for your post. This will surely come in handy because you know- one can only have so many props & boards & such- being able to change the color of existing ones will be so nice. LOVE how you made the door the exact color of her eyes too. It makes them pop off the page!

    so cool! you can’t even tell the color was changed digitally!

    This is insane! Like Jaymi said… I’d never know you changed the color of the door in PS! I actually prefer the blue! Beautiful job! xo

    That’s so cool.

    oh my gosh – that color change is amazing! And her eyes are beautiful against the background!

    Thank you for this tut! I love the blue door. It really compliments.

    Such a handy tutorial and it works wonders on those terrible backgrounds.

    It was so easy. Thank you! I found it super helpful and I love the edit you did. It brings out her eyes. Happy Thursday!


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