How to Realisticy Copy Color Betwen images in Photoshop Copy color betwen images in Photoshop the smart way

In this video, Colin Smith from PhotoshopCAFE demonstrates a simple method for copying the colors from one image onto another image and do this in a way that will preserve the highlights and shadows of the original image making the result look extremely realistic.

Realistic color swap

Changing the color of an object in Photoshop, especially with the most recent AI-driven subject selection tools is not difficult. The problems however start when you want to copy a color from one image and use it on another image in a way that will preserve the highlights and shadows of the subject.

Smith has a simple technique that will help you achieve that in Photoshop and is very fast to use. We start with the image that we want to sample the new color from. You can use one of the selection tools and mark the color that we want.

After placing your selection in the first image go over to the image that you want to change and go to select>color range and this will give you a selection base on color. In white will be the areas that are selected and in black those that are not selected. Use the eyedropper plus and minus to make sure that you are selecting the right areas and click OK and fix the selection if needed with any of the other selection tools.

One super important step (and you will see why in a second) before we copy the color is to make a layer from the selection so use ctrl J and create a new layer.

Now it’s time to copy the color from the first image to the selection on the second image that we just made. Go to image>adjustments>match color. Here we have the option to choose a different source for the color and here we can choose the other image as a source.

What we must do is check the box “use selection in source to calculate colors (under image statistics). Now you will get the right color copied from the original image to the new image. The problem is that this copies the colors in a flat way which doesn’t look realistic at all and does not preserve the shadows and highlights of the original image.

Now comes the most interesting (and simple) trick. Since we choose the selection with the new color to be in a separate layer we can now blend that layer in different ways with the layer below. In this case, choose the Hue blend mode and there you have it a truly realistic color replacement!

If you need you can fix some areas where you want to remove the new color by creating a mask and painting with a black brush.

Bonus video: Smith shows a more advanced version of color matching with curves

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More on changing colors in Photoshop

Over the years we have published many videos and articles on color matching and color changing in Photoshop here on LensVid including: “Change Background Color in Photoshop the Simple Way” with Jesús Ramirez, How to Match colors in a Composite Image in Photoshop” with Colin Smith as well as a similar video by Glyn Dewis.

We also covered “How to Change the Color of Anything in Photoshop”, “3 Ways of Changing Makeup Color In Photoshop CC” as well as “Changing Color in Photoshop with… a B&W Adjustment Layer (Under 1 min)” by Smith and if you are interested in working with colors in general check out this page on LensVid.

More recently we also covered “How to Add a Colored Background to a Portrait in Photoshop” and “Two Ways of Matching Clothes to Any Color Background in Photoshop“, both by Aaron Nace from Phlearn

You can check out past Photoshop released sneak peeks – here. You can find many more Photoshop video tutorials on LensVid’s Photoshop section. You can also find more PhotoshopCAFE videos here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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