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.