Photography editing tips: The colour replacement tool in Photoshop

I recently shared this before and after edit in my Facebook Training Group and one of the members asked how I changed the colour of the subjects dress to match the colours in the background. It was a great question so I thought it would be useful to share how I did this using Photoshops Colour Replacement Brush. You can see screenshots of my workflow below.

Camera settings: Shot on my Canon 5d iii with the 70-200 2.8 Mark 1. My camera settings were 1/320 shutter speed, 2.8 aperture, 1600 ISO around 7 pm.

Straight out of camera vs final edit

Choosing your replacement colour

The first thing I did was choose the colour that I wanted to change the dress to – in this case, I used the colour picker to select the colour of the flowers in the background and then went one shade darker (I like my subject’s skin to be the brightest part in my image)

Selecting the area to change

One option is to go straight into using the colour replacement brush, but if you do this you will need to be incredibly careful around the edges of the dress so not to overpaint the skin or the background. To make this as easy and speedy a process as possible, I first select as much as the dress as I can by selecting the yellow colour range.  You can find this tool under Select > Colour Range

Using the colour select tool

I then use the dropper to select the yellow of her dress. As she has some yellow in her skin this tool is likely to pick up more than just her dress, but it will do a good job of selecting the edge of her dress and not the background.  I moved the fuzziness and range sliders until I could see the dress was totally selected.

Create a new layer with the selected area

You will then see that the selected area has marching ants around it – I then turn this into a new layer by clicking  Ctrl & J (Command J on the Mac). Now I have a new layer which has JUST the colour that I wish to change on it.

Select the colour replacement brush

Finally, right click on the brush icon on the left-hand panel and change to the colour replacement brush. The colour you chose at the beginning should be available to select and now you can paint over on the top layer.  Then make sure you go and check around the edges and hairline to ensure all of the original colour has been painted over. Flatten and save and you are done!

The final image

Finally, I worked on removing the green colour cast and adding some dimension and contrast to the image. If you would like to know more about my editing courses or book a 1-2-1 Skype session where we edit your images together, then all details can be found here.