How to Quickly Brand Stock Images with Photoshop

Do you ever find stock photos you’d love to use but, it doesn't quite fit with your brand? If you could just change one colour. 

If you're looking to colour coordinate your Insta feed or get a more branded look to your blog photos, today’s Photoshop tutorial is fun to try.

Do you ever find stock photos you’d love to use but...if you could just change one colour, well then it would be perfect?  If you're looking to colour coordinate your Insta feed or get a more branded look to your blog photos, today’s Photoshop tutorial is fun to try. itsorganised.com | photoshop video tutorials

COLOUR AND BRANDING

A colour palette does not a brand make. But, a colour scheme consistently applied across your online presence is an important piece of your brand identity. 

You don’t need, and probably wouldn’t want, brand colours in all of your images. The brand colour can also take many forms: an object in the photo, text, overlays, filters, a frame, or your logo.

But, subtly scattered across your platforms, colour pulls disparate elements together beautifully.

Have a look at some popular Instagram feeds to see it in action. You’ll often notice a colour theme running through the feed. Cadbury, with their trademark purple, are often quoted as an example of this. 

Colour is also a great way to help visitors make a seamless transition from one of your online platforms to another. Along with your logo, it adds to that sense of the familiar.


CHANGING COLOURS ON PHOTOS WITH PHOTOSHOP

There are many ways to change colours in photographs with Photoshop. Today’s tutorial uses a colour overlay and blends it into the photo. 

You won’t get a perfect match for your brand, as photographs contain millions of colours. What you will get is a series of tints and shades, rather than a flat colour, that look like they belong to the original image.

This method works particularly well when you have a clearly defined area or block of colour you want to change, or you’re working with a texture. You can see examples below.

Do you ever find stock photos you’d love to use but...if you could just change one colour, well then it would be perfect?  If you're looking to colour coordinate your Insta feed or get a more branded look to your blog photos, today’s Photoshop tutorial is fun to try. itsorganised.com | photoshop video tutorials

The images on the left and in the centre have a single colour applied to the whole photo. 

The other three images have a colour applied to a specific part of the photo. You’ll notice all of these have clearly defined edges, making masking (protecting the other parts of the photo from the colour) simpler.


VIDEO TUTORIAL

In this video, I’ll show you how to:

  • add a colour overlay;
  • use blending modes; and
  • use mask creatively.


THE STEP-BY-STEP

  1. With your Photograph Layer selected, go down to the Fill/Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layer stack (black & white circle).
  2. Select Solid Colour. This will open your Colour Picker.
  3. Type in a brand colour or choose a colour from the spectrum.
  4. Click Okay.
  5. You can now see a Colour-Fill Layer but, you won’t be able to see the photo underneath.
  6. With your Colour-Fill Layer selected, go to the top of your layer stack and open the Blending Modes (default is Normal).
  7. Scroll right down to the bottom and select Hue.
  8. You'll now see your photo, blended with the new colour.
  9. If you want to change the colour, double click on the Colour Swatch on the Colour-Fill Layer and your Colour Picker will open again.


STAYING AUTHENTIC

Stock photos are there to do a job of work. They're not our own images, after all. 

Always check the terms of use. Individual photographers may have specific requirements in terms of end use and editing. If you check every time, you can rest assured you're using the image appropriately. 

Unless you are purposefully trying to create an abstract image, I would avoid altering colours of famous landmarks, locations, and certainly trademarked products. 

In terms of logo-free, universal items and unidentifiable locations, like the examples above, you can change colours without worrying. 

Some people feel there's a moral argument against altering images. I’ve read many a heated discussion online! I would argue that it's the way you use the image that infers authenticity. 

I don’t use Photoshop, for example, for altering people to create an unrealistic ‘perfection’. This doesn’t fit with my own ethics. It would feel inauthentic. 

I do use Photoshop to improve images and make them work hard for my brand. I doubt we see many straight-from-camera images any more. People don’t think twice about brightening, sharpening, cropping and adding filters. 

I have my own do’s and don’ts. 

Draw your own line.

 

HAVE A GO

This is a fun and surprisingly quick technique.

You can vary your use of your brand colours - sometimes applying them to photos, as we've seen here, other times using them on text, frames or colour overlays. 

Now, when you see that nearly-perfect photo but you wish the wall was a different colour, you’ll know what to do.