In this tutorial, you will learn how to change colors in Lightroom.
You might remember a recent tutorial where I showed you how to change the color of anything in Photoshop, this is going to be a similar tutorial, but we’re going to do it all in Lightroom and not Photoshop.
Photoshop has great masking options and a ton of tools to change the color of an object. But if you have an object that is easy to select you may want to stay in Lightroom and do all your work there.
Keep in mind that there are two versions of Lightroom. Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC.
In this tutorial, we’re going to work with Lightroom Classic CC. This is the version of Lightroom that has been around for a decade and the preferred version of professional Photographers.
Lightroom CC is the new cloud-based editor which does not have the cataloging and organizational features that Lightroom Classic does. But the editing features between the two apps are virtually the same.
If you want to learn more about the new Lightroom CC, then check out my free video course for beginners.
If you would like to download the photo used in this tutorial, you can download a free watermarked preview from Adobe Stock.
Change Colors in Lightroom With The HSL Panel
Before we go into the Adjustment Brush technique featured in this tutorial, it is important to be familiar with and understand the method that most people use to change colors in Lightroom and why it doesn’t always work.
Make sure that you are in Lightroom Classic CC, and go into the Edit Module.
From the Edit Module, you can click on the HSL/Color panel. Then you can select the Hue tab, where you will see a list of colors that you can adjust with the corresponding sliders.
In this example, the model is wearing a red jacket. If you wanted to change the jacket to another color, you could click-and-drag the Red slider to the left or to the right to shift the hue.
But notice that you can only shift the hue just a bit. You can make the jacket orange, or you can make it magenta, but you cannot change it to a specific color.
If you want to make the jacket blue, then you will need to use a different technique.
A better way of changing the color of an object in Lightroom to a specific color is to use the Adjustment Brush.
Change Colors in Lightroom With The Adjustment Brush
The best way to change colors in Lightroom to any color that you like is to use the Adjustment Brush along the Color option.
To do so, start by selecting the Adjustment Brush by pressing K on the keyboard or clicking on it from the tools bar.
Then make sure that no adjustments have been made to any of the sliders in the adjustment panel. You can hold Alt (Mac: Option) to change the “Effect” label to a “Reset” button. Once you click on the Reset button, all the sliders and settings will return to default.
To make things easier to select, make sure that you also check the Auto Mask checkbox, which will confine brush strokes to areas of similar color.
Notice that when you start painting over the image, you will see a red overlay. This overlay represents the areas that you have painted on and the areas that will be adjusted by the Adjustment Brush’s settings.
If your photo contains red areas, such as the red jacket in the photo in this example, you will not be able to see the overlay. But you can press Shift O on the keyboard to toggle between the different colors available for the overlay. Red, green, white, and black.
If you don’t see the overlay, you can press O on the keyboard to enable it (or disable it).
When painting over the object, remember that the bracket keys on the keyboard ( ) allow you to change the brush size quickly. Adding the Shift key will let you adjust the feather, which is the sharpness of the edge of the brush.
Paint over the object whose color you would like to change. You don’t have to be very precise; you can always come back and fine-tune your selection later on.
Changing The Color of The Jacket
Once you have painted over the jacket, disable the overlay by pressing O on the keyboard, and reduce the Saturation to negative 100.
Without any saturation, you may notice that some areas still contain the original color. If you do, then simply continue painting over your object until it is completely gray.
Remember that if you make a mistake, you can always hold Alt (Mac: Option) to subtract from the mask.
The next step is to add the color.
Go to the section here that reads Color, click on the swatch, and select any color that you like.
You can then use the luminosity sliders (Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks) to control how the color looks.
Keep in mind that sliders that control colors, such as Temperature and Tint, will not change the color of the adjustment. The Adjustment Brush desaturated the image, so these sliders will not affect color.
One of the advantages of this coloring method is that it remains even when you apply a Lightroom Preset.
So, after replacing the color of an object, you can then apply your favorite preset!
Links Mentioned In The Video Tutorial
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