Photoshop & Post Production — How to Change Wall Color / Phoenix, AZ Photographer

Probably one of the biggest questions that I get asked over and over again is, “How do you change the color of a brick wall in a photo?” A lot of photographers want to know the answer! I’ve put it together a step-by-step blog post for all of you so that you can actually SEE the process. I will be working in Photoshop CS4 on a PC for this tutorial. Keep in mind that the commands may be a little different on a Mac.

The first thing that you’ll want to do is to select a photo. I chose to use this picture from a couple years ago because I really like the weathered look of the bricks.

The first thing that you want to do is locate your Hue/Saturation sliders in the Layers panel on the right side of your computer. If your Layers panel isn’t pulled up, you’ll need to select it to become visible by going to the “Window” tab up at the top and by selecting “Layers.”

The Hue/Saturation slider is separated into three sections:

  • The top section controls the mixing and changing of colors.
  • The second section controls saturating and de-saturating the color you’re working with.
  • The third section controls how much black or white gets mixed in with your color. Black { sliding to the left } makes your color darker. White { sliding to the right } makes your color lighter.

Slide the top section slider all the way to the left and work it all the way over to the right. Only pay attention to the wall color! Your model will turn a freakish color, but don’t worry about that. Stay focused on your wall!

Do you see a color that catches your eye?

Once you’ve found the color you’d like to work with, your next step will be to play with the second slider. How saturated or de-saturated would you like your wall to be? Again, only pay attention to the wall itself and not to your model or anywhere outside of the brick area.

You will want to make sure that your Hue/Saturation selection in the layers panel has a layer mask attached to it. You’ll know that a layer mask is attached when the layer itself is selected and when there are little marks around the white box that is next to it:

Once you’ve done that, select your brush tool from the panel on the left. I like to use a Drop Shadow brush because then my edges are smooth. Drop Shadow brushes are hidden. Once you click on the brush tool, click on the little down arrow at the top of your screen on the left that’s next to a round circle. A box will open up that shows you diameter, etc. There is a little black arrow to the right of that box with a circle around it. Click it. It will expand a panel. Search in the box for “Drop Shadow Brushes” and click on it. A dialog box will pop up that asks, “Replace current brushes with the brushes from Drop Shadow Brushes?” Hit “append” instead so that they show up alongside your other brushes. Choose a drop shadow brush from the list on the upper left and set the size of the brush with the diameter selector.

Make sure that your background and foreground colors are set to black and white:

A little random sidenote for those of you who don’t know layer masking:

An easy way to remember how each color affects layer masks is this:

Imagine that you have a “background” photo.

You take a transparency and draw something on it and lay it down over your photo. It affects the way that your photo is seen because something new has been added to it, but it doesn’t actually affect the photo itself. Now imagine drawing something else down on another transparency and laying that down over the photo and the other transparency. They are both now affecting the photo, but not affecting the photo itself.

Enter in layer masking.

Layer masking is like giving your layers it’s own pair of scissors and sewing kit. In this demonstration, BLACK is equal to the scissors and WHITE is equal to the sewing kit.

If you want to REMOVE a portion of your layer { your “transparency” but not your “background” }, then you use either BLACK { your “scissors” } to remove portions of it or you use your white { your “sewing kit” } to bring those discarded portions back.

Note: The best way to see these affects is to take your adjustment layers to the extremes so you can see the difference each one makes on your layer.

Back to instructions for everyone:

Because you’ll want to REMOVE a portion of the layer { “transparency” } you just layed down over your photo, you’ll want to select BLACK { your “scissors” } and begin moving your brush over any area in the photo that isn’t a part of the wall:

You’ll want to zoom in to make sure there is no funky colors on your model’s skin or on surrounding areas. If there is, keep working the black over those areas. If you remove too much, hit the “X” button on your keyboard. This switches the colors from black to white and white to black. Then, when white is selected, begin moving your brush over those areas to bring the color back to the areas you need them to be in.

Et voila! You’ll have a change in wall color!

There you have it! It’s very simple once you get the hang of it! If you struggle with doing it, go back over the steps and go through them one by one. Pretty soon, it will be like second nature doing it!

I hope that you enjoyed this quick tutorial! Stay tuned for more tutorials in the future! : )





6 thoughts on “Photoshop & Post Production — How to Change Wall Color / Phoenix, AZ Photographer

    1. bebaphotography

      I’m so glad that you liked this post! : )! Thank you! Are there other topics that you’d like to see covered? I’ll be posting more of these in the future!

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