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Change Backdrop Color in Photoshop

Lesson 39 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

Change Backdrop Color in Photoshop

Lesson 39 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

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Lesson Info

39. Change Backdrop Color in Photoshop


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is a Mirrorless Camera?


Mirrorless Camera Advantages


Mirrorless Compatibility


Live Shoot: Mirrorless vs. DSLR


Live Shoot: A7R II, A6300 & A7ii


Compare Mirrorless & DSLR Images


Posing Techniques Overview


Lesson Info

Change Backdrop Color in Photoshop

We did the clean-up of the skin, of the hair, we did some dodge and burn and now we're at the point to where basically we're going to make some color adjustments and then we're gonna go into Alien Skin to go ahead and finish off the image. So one of the things that I like to do in shots like this, especially when I use these savage backgrounds, is to basically change the color of these backgrounds. So one of the really nice things about it is you'll look at the actual color of these textured backgrounds and you'll say, "Well, like I don't like the green," or "I don't like the gray," or, you know, whatever, whatever color it is that you're working on and you say you don't like it, that's fine. You can really easily and quickly change the color, so if you don't want this like blueish-gray background, if you click on Color Balance, which is this adjustment layer here, and I'm gonna go ahead and name this right away and just put Background Color, so that way I know later on when I go back ...

to it that this only is going to affect the background. What I'm gonna do is, when I click on these little scales, I get this little properties window, and I have my midtones, shadows, and highlights, and I could adjust the amount of cyan, red, green or magenta, or yellow and blue within the midtones, highlights, and shadows of the image. So to show you kind of how you would use this, you could go to like reds for example and you'll notice that it's gonna change the amount of red in the midtones of the image or it's gonna change the cyan in the midtones. Now when I do these adjustments, when I'm tweaking the color of the background, I'm only looking at the background. Even though it's making the adjustment to her skin and everything else, I'm not really looking at that as I make this adjustment. I'm strictly looking at what the background is doing, so I'll kind of play around with these sliders to kind of get the background looking the color that I'm trying to go for, so let's say if I'm trying to go for a color like this, let's go before and after, so it hasn't changed that much. I wanna make it a little more drastic. Maybe we'll go dark blue. You can see as you kind of play around with this slider that the background and everything else changes, and again before and after, so here we have a little bit more of like a blueish type of background and so, but it's affected the entire image, right? It affected the skin, so just like we did with the dodge and burn, we have a white mask that's automatically added as soon as you clicked on Color Balance, and just like you did with dodge and burn, wherever it is that you paint black now, it's going to basically reveal the original color that was there. So we're gonna go to 100% Flow, 100% Opacity, we've got our brush selected. Right now it's on white, which means if I paint nothing happens 'cause I'm painting white on white, that doesn't work. If you hit X it will toggle to the other color, which happens to be black, which is the color I want, gonna make the brush a little big and I'm basically gonna paint back in to bring the original color back to just her skin. So we'll paint over all of this. And I'm doing this very loosely, very nitty-gritty here. Just like that, so I'm painting over her skin, painting over her clothes, trying to make sure that the only thing that is being adjusted is this background, there we go. Then if you want to check out the mask to take a look and see what's been brushed in so you can kind of look at it in that manner there, let's go back here, and let's see. So, forgive me for the playing around here with the Apple shortcuts, but, yeah, it's one of those, if I'm on a PC I would know these shortcuts, but whatever. Looks like it's on there, so if I turn this off and on, you could see that it's just the background that's being affected so now basically I have complete control so now if I wanna make this background a little bit darker I can click on those scales once again and I could go ahead and tweak this and make this into something that basically looks more like what I'm trying to go for, so maybe that, like, kind of greenish color might be what I wanna go for or I can go super dark and go blue. So you can really customize these backgrounds. Even though out of the box they may not be the specific color that you wanna, you know, purchase and use, in Photoshop, Color Balance layer and you could change it to be pretty much anything that you want it to be. So, I don't know how I'm feeling about this color here. Kind of liked the gray, let's see if we can tweak that just a touch, and these are the things that I'll sit there and spend like way too much time trying to, like that looks a little more gray, so I think I'm gonna go like that 'cause I kind of liked the way it was out of the camera, but basically just know that you can go into this and if you wanted to change, for example, the shadows, you could do the same thing where it's just gonna target the shadows in that selection, but I like the way that this looks right here, so we're gonna delete this help layer because each of these layers, you're gonna notice down here your file size for this image. As you continue to build up more and more layers, the file gets bigger and bigger and bigger. There'll be times where I'm working on a file and it's like a, you know, 1.5 gigabyte file because there's so many layers of corrections for color and skin clean-up and stray hairs and all sorts of stuff and so you have to make sure that you're keeping an eye on that, because, you know, very quickly you could end up with a file that is like pretty massive. You know, it'll start to slow down the process on your computer. So, once we have all of this done, I'm gonna go ahead and, all of these layers, by the way, if I hold Option and click on this eyedropper next to Background, you'll see this is where we started with the image when it came from Capture One and this is where the image is right now after the retouch. So this is the complete before, and then the complete after, I'll zoom in. So option click there, that's before, and there's the after. So you start to see that even though I'm explaining this process and I'm talking through it and there's still more that I could do on this particular shot, you have the technique, you have the tools to be able to do it. Now you just need the time to kind of sit there and kind of refine the entire process. But this is basically how I go about doing my skin retouching on an image is to basically sit there and go from one shot to the next and start making all of those adjustments. So now what we're gonna go ahead and do is I'm gonna go ahead and take this image and I'm gonna kick it over into ... Skin and from there I'm gonna go ahead and tweak the overall colors, I'm gonna add grain. I'm gonna sharpen the image and I'm basically gonna make all of these kind of like finishing tweaks within that program. So, were there any questions, by the way? 'Cause I know that prior to us, as we were working on this, did we have any other questions up to this point before I go into the Alien Skin preset portion of this? I think, if you could just clarify, for AceOneWorld who says, "Is this what local and global dodge and burn is?" This was back when you were showing us a dodge and burn. "I've heard those terms a lot, but I'm not exactly sure. "Could you define those two terms?" Yeah, so global dodge and burn would be where, let's say on the Dodge layer here, a global dodge and burn would be where I'm working on the image here and I'm basically lightening or darkening, looking at it from this perspective. A local dodge and burn is where basically I zoom in like this and I basically will dodge and burn the image almost at a pixel level. So, for example, I'll actually, that's a really good question, that's why I'm glad we have the chat room, 'cause you guys ask great questions. So if you look at this here, this is what I would end up doing if I was working on a, kind of like a local or like a macro level. So you start to see a lot of the, kind of like the skin inconsistencies here, and so, like this dark area, all these little dark spots, these are things that I would sit there and I would basically dodge and burn them on a local level. So you can't see that if you're looking at your image like this so you usually will end up doing a dodge and burn layer where you do it on a micro level or on a local level and then you'll make these same layers one more time and then you'll do it on a global dodge and burn where you'll dodge like under the eyes, you know, the forehead, the lips, basically you're doing it where it's farther back, where you can see the adjustments over the entire image. So the other thing as well, which maybe somebody might be thinking out there is this is one method of doing dodge and burn, this is what I use for a lot of my portrait work, this is not the only method of dodge and burn. There are many, many methods. There's ways that you can do it with just a single layer doing a 50% gray layer and then basically using a white brush to dodge and a black brush to burn. That's one method of doing it. You could do Curves layers that are set to normal and basically just adjust the curves to be bright or dark, however you want them to be. So there's a lot of different methods to be able to do it. I'm only showing you the one method that I use the most, which is using the two curves with Screen and Multiply, and that's the method that really ends up kind of working the best for what I do. So there's no, you know, like you have to do it the way that I'm showing you. Basically it could be done any which way.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Miguel's Exposure X2 Alien Skin Presets

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I want to commend you for hosting Miguel Quiles. He is beyond competent and knowledgeable. Light is Light, but It is encouraging to see incredible minority photographers on your platform and to see diversity in the presenters. It is inspirational for minorities to see themselves on the center stage. I sincerely thank you for that. I am buying this course although I am not a mirrorless shooter because of my support of Miguel and the quality of his instruction of which benefits all photographers. He is a great addition to the Creative Live Family of Presenters that I have supported as well. Kudos Creative Live!

Danae Khan Jones

Wow! As a Newb and someone looking to get into portrait/studio photography, this course was perfect and comprehensive. SO MUCH GOOD CONTENT. Miguel is so approachable about questions, positive, and thorough in his explanations. This course broke down the gear and technical side very well. I recommend going to a class live. It was a great experience with food and beautiful facilities. The facility has a positive vibe and really encouraged me to be creative. Thank you for the experience and knowledge!


WOW!!! I LOVED THIS CLASS!!! I learned so much. He made lighting soooo simple, I finally understood. I liked the way he explained the why of his camera settings and how to overcome ambient light. he explained and made everything simple!!! I liked the way he talked about connecting with your clients. I am so happy I purchased this class. I finally understood lighting What a great teacher!! Thank you!!

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