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Tips & Tricks

How To Replicate The Color Palette From Any Photo Or Famous Painting In Seconds In Photoshop

By Kishore Sawh on April 10th 2014

That title may seem a little strange or brash, and by no means am I condoning theft. The point I’m arriving at, is that we can use readily available tools to emulate works we draw inspiration from.

If you’re on Instagram, or follow certain blogs of photographers, you’ll see that they seem to have an almost interminable stream of ‘new’ material that they garnish their sites with. This is great for us the viewer, who get to see more from the people we follow, but it does make you wonder how much shooting these guys do in order to produce content each day. More often than not they will, like a pill, slow release the work they do in pieces, and then they’ll often crop photos down, and manipulate them so they seem ‘new’ and fresh. 

This isn’t a bad thing at all, and one of the methods I actually use is to essentially take a color cast from one photo, and utilize it in another.

With the advent of Instagram and filter sets, photos today can be made to look drastically different and convey different moods, just from filters. But what if you don’t have the precise filter? Or what if you have a photo you would like to transpose a color palette from into another? With Photoshop, of course, it couldn’t be simpler. And it’s also quite brilliant because you can use color palettes from photos of famous paintings in your own images.

How To:

Note* While the process is simple in essence, there may be a level of manipulation you need to do to achieve just the look you want, but we’ll address that here also.

Step One

Open the image you want to take the color cast from, and then the photo of yours you’d like to receive it. (The order doesn’t matter and you can open many images at once if you’d like). In the first scenario We’ll use a photo I took testing out my Sony RX100 firing a Nikon SB700 (which worked easily), and taking the color cast from The Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue commercial, taken by Mario Testino and starring David Gandy and Bianca Balti.

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Step Two

Select the photo you want to edit. Then select Image>Adjustments>Match Color.

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You’ll then be presented with the following screen.

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From here select ‘Source‘ and choose the other photo you are taking the cast from.

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Upon arriving here, your photo may not look just as you’d like it, but you’ll actually be quite close to the original, and testing out and playing with the three sliders present an ability to fine tune it as you would like.

As another example I took an image of me and my dog Walter, and took the caste from the famous painting, ‘Liberty Leading The People,’ and the results are interesting, and pleasant.

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Thoughts

We recently spoke about culling your photos and how necessary it is. Doing this presents a fun, simple, and effective way to take some of those culled photos, if you like, and make them into something different; something more. And there’s just so much more you can do with Photoshop.

To understand it can take time, which is why we try to bring you the best in simple effective steps. If you’d like a comprehensive breakdown, do check out the Photoshop 101 and 201 by Phlearn, which became available in our store just today!

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Anna Clark

    Thank you this is really helpful.

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  2. Jacob Jexmark

    This is an excellent tip! I had no idea this function existed. I guess I am to boxed in with “my” way of using Photoshop. There are lots of gems in that program. Maybe I should start to explore it more.

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  4. Kölher

    Hey nice article ! Thanks.
    Is there any kind of tips in this idea but for black and white pictures ?
    Cause there is many kind of black and white photographs that really inspires me that it’s hard for me to “reproduce” for my pics.

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  5. Tucker

    Cool article and pretty much a useful tip for getting use out of images that I may not readily had thought about using.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Tucker, hi there. I’m glad you found it useful. I actually began doing the same to some images I haven’t used much, to breath some new life into them. Cheers

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  6. Tino

    Very interesting. Often I see pictures on 500px where what appeals to me the most is the look which usually stems from the pallete. What setting does this alter and would one be able to tweak the settings afterwards (for example curves, selective colour etc?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Tino, hi. You are able to tweak the photo afterwards just like you would any other. There are no barriers I have come across that prohibit certain alterations. Cheers

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  7. Michelle

    Thank you so much for this article! Is there a way to save your settings to apply to multiple pictures?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Michelle, I haven’t tried that. To my understanding you cannot really do that. You can keep open the same base photo you want to take the color palette from and keep applying it to others, but as far as settings i don’t believe so. I’ll look into that

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  8. Erick

    Thank you for writing this article. Been looking for this process for some time now. This will help create a starting point for some of my images!

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Erick, no worries. thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you found it useful. There will be more to come, and you should share some of your work! Cheers.

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  9. Andrés

    Cool! Thanks!

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