We recently published an article on how to match the colors of two photographs in a simple and practical way. In some cases it works perfectly, but if we find complicated images the technique that we will see below is one of the best and most accurate. It’s time to match colors of two photographs with the help of adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop.
One of the things that most fall in love with photographs is the color they have. In fact, in the age of networks, people use the famous filters to achieve one color or another and receive hundreds of votes. With this technique we can get it without trying a thousand and one filters until we find the right one.
Although I recommend that rather than copy an effect of a photo that you see loose through networks try to inspire yourself in the series of some photographer you admire … and when you get it you look for your own color. This technique allows two photographs, from the chromatic point of view, to be as similar as possible.
It is much more complicated and less intuitive than the one we saw the other day with the Match Color function . But honestly it is much better if we have enough patience.
How to match the color of two photographs with the help of adjustment layers
As always, we have to have access to the two photographs. The one with the color that we like and the one that will receive it. It is important that they have the same bit depth and above all the same color space (to avoid later problems).
We could place both photographs in the same document, in two different layers, to avoid duplicities. But I think it’s cleaner to modify the workspace of the program to see the two files at once. For this reason it will be the first step that I will put next:
- We open the two photographs in Adobe Photoshop . To see one next to the other we have to go to Window> Organize> Segment everything vertically . We can reduce one and in Window> Organize> Match all get them to look exactly the same size.
- Some adjustment layers will be identical in both files, and others will only be created in the image that we want to change.
- First, a uniform color adjustment layer in both files. The color will be a medium gray ( R: 128, G: 128, B: 128 ). And for the image to be seen in black and white, its Blending Mode will be Color.
- In the image that we want to change, we open a Curves adjustment layer and modify the values of the Y axis to make the histograms as similar as possible. In the example photograph I had to lower the targets along the vertical axis. And the Blacks by the X axis. This way we can match the brightness of the image.
- Now comes the color turn. As easy as changing the blending mode of both adjustment layers from Uniform Color to Luminosity. The photographs will look like an incoherent mixture of colors.
- Once again, we activate the photograph we want to change and create a Curves adjustment layer in which we will vary each color curve until the color is as similar as possible between both images. If we see it under the prism of the Luminosity fusion mode it will be easier to distinguish the dominant ones.
- We add to both photographs a new adjustment layer of Selective correction to adjust the saturation. So that everything goes correctly we have to put it in Absolute mode and go down to -100 the Black value in Colors> Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta and go up to +100 the Black value in Colors> White, Neutral and Black . Both photographs will be in black and white.
- To finish we added to the photo that we want to change a layer of adjustment of Hue / Saturation in Color blending mode and we adjust Saturation until we see that both files are more or less the same.
As you can see there are many steps. And until we practice it will be difficult for both shots to be the same. But it is one of the most reliable methods to match the color between two photographs. You will tell me your results.