5 Ways to Get Perfect Colors in Photoshop

Getting the colors in your photos exactly as you want them to be can be surprisingly difficult. There’s lots of ways in which colors can be off and even more ways to manipulate them in Photoshop.

In this article, I’m featuring 5 advanced techniques for changing the colors in your photos to correct certain problems or add creative effects.

And no, we’re not talking about Hue/Saturation adjustments here. 😉 This is more advanced stuff!

Color correction and color matching using curves

In this first video, Jesús Ramirez explains in detail, how you can correct and match colors using Curves adjustments. Curves are a very powerful tool that can be used to change the tones and the colors in your images, but a lot of people find it tough to get their head around them.

Finding the gray point in your image

In commercial shoots, you are usually using a special gray card and photograph it under the same lighting conditions so that you can easily identify the correct color balance in post-production. But most people don’t do that for their photos. So it can be tough to get the color balance close to the actual scene.

In this video, you’ll learn a neat trick for identifying the area in your image that is closest to 50% gray to measure your white balance off of that point.

How to match colors in composites

Whenever your putting two or more elements from different photos together into the same image, you will run into problems with different, non-matching colors. The composite just does not look right because the elements are colored differently.

This can happen in commercial productions or simply if you’re replacing the sky in one of your landscape images.

In this video, Colin Smith shows you how you can use the Match Color adjustment to fix this problem.

Color grading with a gradient map

Color grading is a process that is very common in movie productions and also in photography. It assigns different colors to the highlights, midtones and shadows of your photo to create specific effects and color contrasts in your pictures.

In this tutorial, Nathaniel Dodson explains how to use the Gradient Map adjustment to quickly color grade your images.

Using Color Lookup Tables (LUTs)

In simple terms, a color lookup table (or short: LUT) maps each color in your image to another color. So, with a respective LUT you can completely change the colors and tones in your image.

In this video, Justin Odisho shows you how to use LUTs to change the look of your images entirely with a few clicks.

Nathaniel Dodson goes one step further and shows you how to use LUTs to transfer the look of any set of adjustments from one image to another. This is a very powerful and quick technique for applying complex adjustments across different photos.

Now it’s your turn…

I know there’s a million other ways to change and correct the colors in your images. And we cannot list them all here. But maybe you know a particularly powerful and clever one that I forgot.

Let me know in the comments below!

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