How To Match Colors in Photoshop – Fast and Easy Method

In this tutorial, you will learn how to Match Colors in Photoshop using the Curves Adjustment Layer.

One of the most common problems when compositing images in Photoshop is matching the color tones of multiple images.

In this 90-Second Photoshop Tip, we will use the Auto Options in the Curves Adjustment Layer to quickly and easily match the colors of two images.

I will use Photoshop CC 2018  for this tutorial, but every step is fully compatible with Photoshop CS6.

To follow along, you can open any of your composites in Photoshop, or download the images I used from Adobe Stock. The watermarked versions are free or you can license the hi-resolution versions if you like (Background and Foreground).

Steps to Match Colors in Photoshop:

  1. Create a Curves Adjustment Layer
  2. Clip The Curves Layer To The Foreground
  3. Open The Auto Options
  4. Select Find Dark & Light Colors
  5. Apply Dark & Dark Colors from The Background Image
  6. Fine-Tune The Curve

The file that I am working with has two layers: a foreground, and background.

Layers Working With

I’ve already extracted the background from the model layer, and as you can see, the background and foreground do not match.

Before Curves Adjustment

Follow the steps below to make sure that the colors of both layers match.

Step 01 – Create a Curves Adjustment Layer

Start by creating a Curves Adjustment Layer. Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon and select Curves.

Create a Curves Adjustment to Match Colors in Photoshop

Step 02 – Clip The Curves Layer To The Foreground

We will use a Clipping Mask to make sure that the Curves Adjustment layer only affects the model layer.

Press Ctrl Alt G (Mac: Command Option G) to make a Clipping Mask.

If you did this right, you will notice a down-pointing arrow next to the Curves Adjustment Layer.

Clip Adjustment Layer

Step 03 – Open The Auto Options

Before you do anything else, click on the Curve’s Layer thumbnail. The Focus, the white outline, need to be on the Layer Thumbnail and not the mask.

Focus on the Layer Thumbnail

In the Properties Panel, you will see the Curves properties.

Hold Alt (Mac: Option), and click on the Auto Button to open the Auto Color Correction Options.

Auto Button

Step 04 – Select Find Dark & Light Colors

In the Auto Color Correction Options, select Find Dark & Light Colors, and uncheck “Snap Neutral Midtones.”

Auto Color Correction Options

Step 05 – Apply Dark & Dark Colors from The Background Image

This is where the magic happens.

You need to match the shadows and highlights of the background to the shadows and highlights of the foreground.

First double-click on the Shadows color swatch, then click on the darkest point of your background to select that color. Pure black will not work.

Double-click on the Highlights swatch and this time select the brightest point in of the background. Pure white will not work.

After you select the shadows and highlights, the foreground element should more closely resemble your background.

Auto Color Corrections - Find Shadows and Highlights

When you press OK, you will get a notice asking if you would like to make the colors you chose the default colors. Click on “No.

Save Target Colors Default

Step 06 – Fine-Tune The Curve

For most composites, you will need to fine-tune the Curves Adjustment Layer to make a better color match.

Add Contrast

In this case, creating contrast in the RGB curve makes the image look more realistic. But your composite may require different adjustments.

Your Turn!

And there you have it! That’s how you can easily match colors in Photoshop!

Give it a try! If you create something using this tutorial you can share your results on Instagram with the hashtag #ptcvids!

Check out our Photoshop compositing tutorials for more tutorials like this!

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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Ian Carpenter

I am happy to watch any of your tutorials, whether short or long. I learn so much from them. Many thanks Jesus.


Very Helpful tutorial !!


Very Helpful tutorial !!! 🙂