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Editing Colors Within A Photo

A common task in Photoshop is the need to change a specific color in a photo, may it be a person’s hair or eye color. In this tutorial I will go over two different methods you can use to change the colors within a photo. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages – so it’s best to be familiar with both methods.

First Method:

We are going to change the color of a womans hair. Start by selecting a picture of a woman preferably with straight hair. Curly hair can be slightly more difficult to work with. The photo I have chosen has a woman with straight but slightly wavy hair – a rather common style.


Create a new layer on top of the original picture layer. Make sure you have the new layer selected and choose the ‘Polygonal Lasso Tool’. Zoom into the image about 800% and start to draw around the girls hair as accurately as you can. When you’re done press Alt+Crtl+D and feather the image by 2 pixels. You should have the following:

Fill your new layer with a bright color, I will use red. It might look funny once filled in but by changing the blending options you can create some interesting results. I set mine to ‘Soft Light’ and reduced the opacity by 10%.

You can also try to add a Gaussian Blur by going to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur. I normally use a radius between 1 and 4 for the best effect. In this case I went with 3. Here is the outcome:

Second Method:

This method is much easier and quicker than the first however you have less control over the color and blending options. I usually recommend this method for quick fixes.

Start by bringing up the original image and selecting the ‘Polygonal Lasso Tool’. This time we’ll change the color of the girls lips. Zoom in and draw around the upper lip then hold down shift and draw around the bottom lip – finally feather it by 1 or 2 pixels.

Now press Ctrl+U and a Hue/Saturation Box Should pop up. Tick the colorize and play with the Saturation and Hue by sliding them left or right until the desired color is shown. I chose a purple color for her lips (is anyone surprised? after-all this is Rapid PURPLE).


About Michael Boguslavskiy

Michael Boguslavskiy is a full-stack developer & online presence consultant based out of New York City. He's been offering freelance marketing & development services for over a decade. He currently manages Rapid Purple - and online webmaster resources center; and Media Explode - a full service marketing agency.

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