How to Change the Hue and Saturation of One Layer in Photoshop

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

One of the elements that make a photo stand out is its color. It’s amazing how a little hue and saturation tweak or outright change can positively affect the beauty of a photo. In this article, we’ve examined how to change the hue and saturation of one layer in Photoshop.

How to Change the Hue and Saturation of One Layer in Photoshop

For many Photoshop users, knowing how to change hue and saturation is a game changer. It gives you many color options that can ignite your image quality. However, the best way to understand how to make hue and saturation changes is to begin with a single layer change.

An image of a person using laptop

Steps to Change the Hue and Saturation of One Layer in Photoshop

For a beginner, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being able to make hue and saturation changes. However, first and foremost, you have to choose a color you want to change to. Undoubtedly, doing this makes the entire process a lot easier and quicker.

Step 1: Import the Photo Into Photoshop

Launch your Photoshop application on your computer and Click on File to select the folder where the photo is located. Next, click on the photo and import it into Photoshop by clicking on the Import Tab.

Step 2: Create a New Adjustment Layer

To make necessary changes to the photo’s hue and saturation, you’ll need to create a new editing layer. First, navigate to the Menu bar at the top of the screen and click on the Layer tab. Then, move your cursor to the New Adjustment Layer option on the drop-down menu.

This further opens a list of options where you will locate and click on Hue/Saturation. This action immediately opens up a New Layer dialog box. Finally, you can click on the OK tab to proceed to the next step.

A quicker way to open a New Adjustment Layer is to choose Hue/Saturation on the Adjustment panel. This panel is located in the editing menu on the right of the screen. Next, click the New Adjustment Layer icon—first on the second row of options.

Step 3: Understanding the Properties Tab Editing Options

Before changing colors in the photo, it’s best to understand the functions of the basic options on the Properties Tab menu. There are about eight primary selectable options on display—Preset, Channel Change (designated by two opposite arrowheads), Hue, Saturation, Lightness, Eyedropper, Colorize, and Hue bars.

The Colorize option, when activated, colors everything (objects and background) in the photo to your chosen color. The Eyedropper Tool is used to color refine specific areas of the photo. In addition, the two horizontal hue bar lines at the bottom indicate the original color and the new color change.

Step 4: Configure the Color Settings

The Preset option would naturally be on default, with its channel set to Master. If you attempt to change color when in the Master Channel, all objects in the photo would have their color changed.

If there is a specific color you want to change, click on the channel list and choose a color that closely relates to it. For example, if you want to change all the red colors in the photo, open the channel options and select Red.

An image of a woman smiling while using laptop

Step 5: Changing the Hue and Saturation of the Photo

Adjust the slider of the hue and saturation options to change the color type and intensity. You can either move the slider or enter a value to adjust the hue and saturation.

A particular reason why it’s important to decide on a color choice beforehand is because of the wide range of hue and saturation options. As soon as you adjust the hue or saturation sliders, you notice color changes in the photo.

Use the Saturation and Lightness slider to determine the intensity and shade of the chosen color. The hue bar line indicates the color change at the bottom of the Properties menu.

Step 6: Refine Specific Photo areas

To ensure there’s no sharp distinction between colors in Photoshop, you’ll notice the selected color is displayed in various color blends. It’s easy to change the color from Red to Blue when there are no other closely related colors in the photo.

For example, if you have the colors red and orange in the photo, trying to change red may sometimes slightly affect the orange color. To correct this, use the Eyedropper Tool by clicking on it to activate it.

Drag the eyedropper tool to the exact area of the photo that you need the color change to be intensified and click on it. After doing this, you’ll notice better hue and saturation changes in the areas.

How to Change the Hue and Saturation of an Object in a Photo

There are situations where you would want to change the color of an object in a photo. In other words, you may not want a color change to the background and other objects.

  1. Up until the point where the Properties Tab is opened, the process and steps remain the same. First, you’ll need to import the photo and create a New Adjustment Layer.
  2. You’ll need to create a clipping mask to focus the hue and saturation adjustment on a particular object. A clipping mask helps you focus on a single layer in the photo.
  3. Go to the Hue/Saturation layer in the Layer panel on the right of the screen. Right-click on it to display a list of options, and click on Clipping Mask.
  4. Go to the Toolbar menu on the left of the screen and click on Quick Selection Tool. Then, drag the cursor to click and select everything that’s not the object you want to change its color.
  5. Then, proceed to activate the Paint Bucket Brush Tool. Finally, click on the exact object you need to change its color.
  6. Adjust the sliders of the hue and saturation settings, as well as that of Lightness, where necessary.

How to Modify the Range of Hue/Saturation Sliders

Changing colors in Photoshop is not always as simple as changing one color type to another. To allow for a perfect blend of colors in photos, Photoshop selects a range of hue and saturation types and intensities.

This hue range is seen at the bottom of the Properties Tab in the New Adjustment Layer menu as two horizontal hue lines. The upper hue line indicates the original color range of the area of the photo highlighted. The bottom line indicates the color range of the changed color.

A woman using her laptop

To modify the range of hue/saturation sliders, these are the steps to take:

  1. On the channel’s edit list, choose the color you want to change the layer to. This is easily selected from a drop-down menu with Masters as its first option.
  2. Immediately after this is done, you’ll notice the two horizontal hue lines would have an adjustment slider positioned in the closest range of the chosen color.
  3. The adjustment slider is composed of two right-angled triangles on the extreme of the slider. It also has two black bar lines separated by a grey bar.
  4. By clicking on the grey area and dragging the slider, you can move to an entirely different color area.
  5. Adjusting the triangles at either end would adjust the magnitude of color fall-off on the selected color. However, this would only affect the area with the selected color and not the range of colors it’ll change.
  6. On the other hand, adjusting the black bar lines would affect the color range it will change and not the color fall-off area.
  7. The vertical white bars are used to adjust the color ranges to the left and right of the color range spectrum. This decreases and increases the captured color range on the adjusted side.


There are several reasons to want to change colors in photos. It’s comforting to know that Photoshop offers users a great level of control to adjust the colors of photos however they seem fit. The article offers a simplistic view of how to achieve it.