Articles, Blog


November 1, 2019

Matching Colors When Combining Photos Hey Cafe Crew, it’s Colin Smith here from
PhotoshopCAFE with a brand new tutorial this week. What I’m going to do is I’m going to show
you how to match the colors between backgrounds and objects once you’ve cut them out and combined
the different photos or otherwise known as compositing. So what I’ve done here is I’ve grabbed some
photographs from Adobe Stock. So I grabbed the photograph here of the woman
and then I’ve grabbed two different backgrounds because I’m going to show you two different
scenarios with two different techniques. So you can find those, I’m going to link to
those in the description so you can go to Adobe Stock, grab those photos and follow
along. So what happens when you are compositing or
combining images from different sources such as your own photos you’ve stocked or photos
from different stock sites and you’re trying to get the colors to match? So, for example, here I’ve cut out the lady,
as you can see. And I’m not going to go through those steps
because I’ve got lots and lots of tutorials on how to do that and I’ll link to those that
I’ve already done. But what I’m going to do is I’m going to show
you how to make the colors match. So we’ve got a simple one here, where we’ve
got this kind of a little bit more monochromatic background. And I’m going to show you another one with
a multi-color background, how to make this work and it’s actually quite simple. So what I’ve done here is I’ve just got the
woman cut out and I’ve duplicated the layer so I can show you a before and after. So we want to match her color with the background,
so let’s go with the first technique. And all we’re going to do is make sure we’ve
selected our person or our object that we want to change the color of to match that
background, so we go to the Image. Now we go to Adjustments and we go down to
Match Color. So under the Match Color, what we want to
do is choose the background or just the overall toning from this background and apply it to
our woman. So what we’re going to do is we want to go
to Source and we want to make sure we choose the right source, and you can see a roof top
balcony with cityscape background. That is the document we’re working in. And now we’re going to go to the layer and
we’re going to choose the background layer. Now, immediately, it’s going to apply the
color for the background. No, it doesn’t look good yet. Don’t worry, relax, we’ve got a few steps
we’re going to take care of. The first thing we’re going to do is _ fade
slider all the way down and that fade slider is how much of that color is applied, so it’s
kind of like a volume control–See that?–for the color. So let’s bring it up until we get to about
the right amount. Don’t worry about the toning or everything
right now, just the color. And what I’m doing is I’m looking at the colors
here in the white, and that’s why I chose this woman in the white dress. It makes it easy to kind of see the color
toning, maybe a little bit more, so we’re just applying– There we go; just the right
amount of that effect. And the next thing we want to adjust is the
luminance or just the brightness, so let’s just play around with this. Let’s bring it back a little bit. There we go, because we were losing all that
details. It was getting blown out. So let’s just kind of play around until it’s
matching. And I’m kind of liking it about there. All right, so we can come back and we can
adjust things later, don’t worry. But the next thing is the Color Intensity. This is kind of like a saturation. If I bring this down, notice it’s going to
go completely black and white. If I go all the way up, it’s going to go very,
very colorful. So what we want to do is just kind of match
and I’m noticing that this scene is a little bit desaturated, so I’m actually taking this
less than 100 because we want to kind of match that. And sometimes, you may just tweak the luminance
a little bit more, like I’m just going to turn it up, just a touch. And we can also play around with the fade
a bit more, maybe not as much now that we’ve kind of played around with that. And there we go. So maybe you like that or maybe you might
want to, you know, fade it a little less, make it a little bit more intense, but you
get the general idea. So that’s how we can match the first one. So let’s have a look at this. I’m just going to apply it and let’s see the
before and the after. There’s the before, where she was much warmer
than the background, and the after, where it matches. Now, you could adjust the brightness of her
if you want to using Curves or do that on the next image, but this is not bad. So let’s go to the next one. So let’s choose the image. If we go down to our adjustments, and we go
down to match color, this is not going to work and I’ll show you why. So let’s go through the other steps, just
so I can demonstrate this to you. So we’re going with the midtone and we’re
going to grab that and we’re going to grab it from the background layer and this is what’s
going to happen. It’s going to get weird now because it’s selecting
the blues. It’s selecting all the colors from the sky
and the ground and it’s creating kind of an average color and it’s just not going to work. So here’s what we do, we grab our Marquee
Tool and we’re going to make a selection around here where we’ve got this color. That’s one way you could do it. Or if you want to be even more accurate, what
you want to do is look for an area that would normally be neutral, say this building here,
and just make a selection around there. And what that’s going to do is actually going
to pick up that color. So look for something that would be gray that’s
obviously being hit by the sunlight; not the shadow, otherwise, you’re not going to get
the color. So we’ve got that color right there and now
we want to apply it to our objects, so you’re really going to see this start to take effect
now. We’re going to go to our image. We’re going to go down to Adjustments and
we’re going to choose Match Color. Now what we want to do is set up everything
as before. At first it might look a little bit weird. We’re going to do this, we’re going to choose
a background. Nothing is happening, why is that, because
we want to turn on Ignore Selection when applying it. Notice it looks weird right now, that’s because
it’s applying it to both the source and the targets. So we turn off the target here and, now, what
it’s doing is it’s taking that color there and it’s applying it to our source, which
is here, which is our person; so far, so good. Now, what we want to do is we want to turn
our Fade down and we’re just going to bring it a little bit of that color. There we go. See how it’s bringing that color in? And we can play around with this color intensity;
maybe make that color a little bit more intense. And now we play around with that Luminance,
so let’s take that luminance down to about where we want to match it. Let’s play around a little bit more with that
color intensity, maybe about there. And we’re going to play around with that Fade
a little bit more now. You could go, you know, very subtle or however
you want to do that. And once again, you may want to tweak your
luminance and just go backs and forths a couple of times to get this kind of working, and
you can see it’s starting to look a lot better now. All right, so as you can see here, this is
applied and we’re just going to click OK. Now there’s one more step we need to do after
this. All right, so let’s add a little bit of contrast. What we want to do is apply a Curves Adjustment,
so let’s make sure we select that layer right there and now we’re going to go under the
Adjustment Layers and we’re going to apply a Curves Adjustment. Now the Curves Adjustment is going to appear
here. Now, I only want to affect the layer underneath. I don’t want to affect all of the layers,
so I’m just going to click that little box. And by clicking that little box, it’s only
going to affect the layer directly underneath, which is our lady. So what we want to do is notice the shadows
here. They’re much darker than what we have in our
image, so let’s pull this down a little bit. We’re going to go into Shadows, pull it down
to kind of match it a bit more. There we go. And what we’re going to do is go up in the
highlights and give those a boost. And see what we’re doing now is we’re adding
more contrast to this image. So, now, it’s going to more closely resemble
our background. So let’s have a look. There’s our before and there’s our after. And if you feel like the curves are just a
little too much, you can always adjust the opacity of those and just give them just the
amount you want. So, anyway, there you have it guys. That’s how to match the colors when you’re
compositing between the foregrounds and the backgrounds. If you want more tutorials like this, make
sure you hit that Subscribe button right now and the little bell there so you’re going
to be alerted every time I do a new tutorial, which is every week. If you like this, make sure you smash that
Like button, add a comment, let’s get a discussion going. And until next week, I’ll see you at the Cafe.


  • Reply ○º frαncєscα º○ May 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm


  • Reply CoderboyPB May 12, 2017 at 3:18 am

    nice as always 🙂

  • Reply Tony Lawton May 12, 2017 at 8:39 am

    nice tip didn't know there was a color match button 🙂

  • Reply OLALA DAVID May 12, 2017 at 9:09 am

    THANKS !!!!!

  • Reply Michelle McCartney May 12, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Wonderful. Thank you!

  • Reply hakam soufan May 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm


  • Reply dave wettlaufer May 16, 2017 at 11:40 am

    always learning, thanks

  • Reply Val Huzel May 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Thank you!

  • Reply hakam soufan May 23, 2017 at 2:08 am


  • Reply John Garghan May 28, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Nice work

  • Reply Iftikhar Ahmad June 6, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    You are Awsome

  • Reply Sohknewjrny January 28, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Love your tutorials👍, you got yourself a sub.

  • Reply Adriano Ferreira da Silva April 25, 2018 at 6:42 am


  • Reply Cassius Giorgio May 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Great! Thanks for your tutorial!

  • Reply Lucia Hewitt May 23, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

  • Reply doomtard June 7, 2018 at 2:42 am

    This is great! Thank you mate

  • Reply Chris Tine June 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Excellent tutorial! Very well taught and now I'm a subscriber!

  • Reply Commentator541 June 26, 2018 at 6:12 pm


  • Reply Rohan Demiyan August 15, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Thank you bro..

  • Reply Alejandro Diaz September 4, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Could you make the same tutorial but for android (apps,lightroom)?? If is possible

  • Reply Nilesh Raut December 24, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks Sir… 🙂

  • Reply bgdavenport December 30, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Great! Thank you so much! I wish there was a photo file so I could show you how I used your tutorial. I restore vintage paper toys. Matching colors has been a "bitch" until now! Gotta show the love!

  • Reply Maestro Mav January 19, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    i learned alot thanks <3

  • Reply Shadow Darknes July 30, 2019 at 1:01 am

    doesn't fucking work, color won't select, waste of fucking time

  • Reply RubberTag September 26, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Very very very nice!
    Have been wondering about this for a long time, seems to work like a charm.
    While try it in the future for sure! 🙂

  • Reply Sean Connelly October 30, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Very clearly explained – thank you for your help on this – you are the best.

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