Photoshop makes it fairly easy to select particular colors, or even objects, in a photograph and make change to the hue, saturation or brightness.
And changing the colors of plants and flowers is a great way to add more visual interest to an image or just to create an eye-catching effect.
Let’s see what we can do with the plant and flowers in this photo to make the image a littler darker and more dramatic.
Changing Colors with Hue/Saturation
We have some great courses on the power of Adjustment Layers in Photoshop and, if you want to master these useful tools, the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer is a great place to start.
You can add Adjustment Layers to the Layer Stack vie the Layer menu at the top of the screen. Hover over New Adjustment Layer and a list will appear with all of the available options.
Since we want to focus on changing the colors in our image, create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Once selected, the Hue/Saturation Adjustment dialog will appear. This dialog provides a number of options to both select and change any color in a photo.
Let’s begin by changing the colors of leaves. The easiest way to do this is by selecting the greens in the image. Click on the drop-down box that’s currently set to Master, and then change it to Greens.
Then, for even more precision, you can use the eyedropper tools to select the specific hues of green that you want to adjust.
Once the colors you want to adjust have been selected, move the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness sliders to the left and right to see how those changes affect the image.
We chose to change the green leaves to be more of a dark blue/purple color.
We’ll move on to change the color of the flowers in a moment, but first we need to take care of some spots that the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer missed.
Refining Hue/Saturation Adjustments
While the selection tools within the Hue/Saturation Adjustments are very helpful, they won’t always provide a perfect result.
Zooming in, notice that some small areas, like flower stems, were missed by our original selections.
Fortunately, this is a pretty simple fix and we have a few options as to how we approach it.
One method is to simply double-click on Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to open the settings window, and then adjust the feathering of the effect using the slider at the bottom of the panel.
By increasing the feathering, the Adjustment will expand out to affect a wider range of hues.
While this can sometimes solve the problem, it didn’t do very much for us in this particular example.
Another more manual approach is to create a new Layer, select the Brush Tool, Sample a color from the surrounding area (hold ALT or OPTN and click on any color to sample it), and then paint over the spot that we want to change to the sampled color.
Select the Layer that you painted on, locate the Blending Mode options at the top of the Layer Panel, and change the Blending Mode to Color.
Notice that Photoshop used the color of where we painted to change the color of the photo information below it.
We’re done with the leaves, now let’s try and change the color of the flowers to complete our new look!
Changing Multiple Colors
Since we’re changing the color of multiple objects in the image, we’re going to need multiple Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers to finish the job.
Using the same process as when we started, created a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer on top of the Layer Stack.
Since our goal is to change the color of the flowers, choose Yellows from the drop-down box in the Hue/Saturation dialog.
We chose to go with a pretty saturated red to make the image a little more dramatic. But there’s an issue.
Notice that the new adjustment affected the skin tone of the subject. This is a pretty common issue when working with images of people. Any time you adjust reds, oranges, or yellows–any warm color tones–you’re going to end up changing the skin tones of any people in your photo.
As long as you know to look out for this issue, it’s another easy fix.
Simply Group all of the Hue/Saturation Adjustments together by selection all of them and hitting CTRL or CMD + G. Add a Layer Mask to the Group and, using a soft, round brush, use the Brush Tool to paint with black on Layer Mask over the subject and their skin.
This will remove any color changes from affecting the colors in the subject’s skin, hair, and clothing.
You should end up with plants and flowers appearing in the colors that you chose, and a subject that looks perfectly natural.