How to Change Colors

Color change GIF

Changing colors in a picture is easier than it may seem. With a little bit of selecting and adjusting, you can change the color of just about anything in Affinity Photo!




Step 0: Downloading the Image

For this tutorial, we’ll be using this beautiful rose image

In addition to this written tutorial, you can also watch our video tutorial on changing colors.



Step 1: Selecting the Subject

With the photo opened in Affinity Photo, we are going to change the color of the rose bud. To change the color, we first need to select it.

Open the Photo


Press on the Selection Brush Tool, then use your mouse to paint a selection across it.

Anywhere that you click will be added to your selection.

Click and drag with Selection Brush Tool


If you accidentally select too much, you can always remove from your selection by changing the Mode from Add to Subtract, and then paint over the area that you would like to remove from your selection.

Change Mode between Add and Subtract


After you’ve made a rough selection of the rose, you’ll notice that there are still smaller parts of the rose that need to be selected. To select these parts, we need to get a little bit closer.

To zoom in, press Command + (Mac) or Control + (PC). To select the small pieces, we’ll need to use a smaller brush. Press the left bracket key ( [ ) to shrink your brush size. Then paint over the small parts of the rose bud that we missed.

Zoom in, small brush, get the details



Step 2: It’s Coloring Time

To zoom back out and see the whole photo again, press Command 0 (Mac) or Control 0 (PC).

Press on the Adjustment icon.

Press Adjustment icon


Apply an HSL Adjustment.

The HSL adjustment lets you adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity of your photo. 

HSL adjustment


Change the color by clicking and dragging the Hue slider.

Change Hue slider


To make the color change look a little more natural, you can change the Blend Mode from Normal to Color.

Blend Mode to Color


You can also adjust the other sliders to change the Saturation and the Luminosity. Play around with the sliders to see what looks best to you for your photo.

Adjust Saturation and Luminosity


Once you have the color that you want, you can go to the Layer Panel and uncheck the HSL Adjustment layer to see a before and after.

before HSLafter HSL



Step 3: Background Switcheroo

To change the color of the background, we need to have the background selected. Since we have everything except the background selected right now, we need to invert our selection.

At the top of the screen, go to Select, then Invert Pixel Selection.

If you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you could also invert the selection by pressing Command Shift I (Mac) or Control Shift I (PC).

Select, Invert Pixel Selection


With the background selected, press on the Adjustment icon.

Press Adjustment icon


Apply a Black and White Adjustment.

Apply Black & White adjustment


In the Dialog Box, we can change how light or dark certain colors become. I’m going to make the Green slider darker, to make the background contrast my vibrant rose.

Adjust these sliders to see what looks good to you.

Adjust colors to contrast rose


Quick Tip! If you want a certain part of your photo to be darker or lighter, but you aren’t sure which color category that part of the photo is in, you can press the Picker in the Dialog Box, then click and drag side-to-side on part of the photo to make that part darker or lighter.

Use Picker in Dialog Box


To finish off the photo, you can deselect the background by pressing Command D (Mac) or Control D (PC).

Deselect Background


At anytime, you can adjust your adjustment layers by double clicking on their icon in the Layers Panel.

Double click icon to keep adjusting


If you ever want to bring up your selection again to make further adjustments to it, you can hold down Command (Mac) or Control (PC), and then click on the layer’s icon in the Layers Panel.

Bring up selection again


Using these steps, you can change the color of anything in Affinity Photo.



Great job following along!

High five GIF