How To Change Colour On Just One Layer

Change Colour On Just One Layer

Have you ever combined elements from separate images to create a composite image, but something doesn’t fit. Sometimes we have to change colour on just one layer to get a smoother blend. You can do this by using a Hue/Saturation layer and clipping mask in photoshop. In this tutorial, we will explain how clipping masks work with adjustment layers and we will show you, step by step how to do it in Photoshop for beginners.

Change Colours in Photoshop

How Do Clipping Masks Work With Adjustment Layers

Say we have an image with multiple layers and we only want to adjust one. When you add an Adjustment Layer, in this example we’re going to use a Hue/Saturation Layer. When you begin to change the hue or saturation, it will affect all of the layers below it. Sometimes we don’t want this to happen so how do we fix it? We use a clipping mask. Once you apply a Clipping Mask to an Adjustment Layer, the only layer that is affected by the changes made in that Adjustment Layer is the layer directly below the adjustment layer. This gives us complete control over the layer that we want without damaging the other layers.

In the image that I have used for this demonstration I have separated the sky from the sea and the rock. Even though this image of Collywell Bay in Northumberland is one of our favourites, it helps demonstrate perfectly how to change colour on just one layer without affecting the layers below.

Step-by-step Guide for Beginners 

1. First, select the layer that we want to adjust by left-clicking on the layer.

It will show in a lighter shade of grey and the thumbnail will have brackets around it.

select a layer in photoshop


2. Next, we need to add a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer above this selected layer.

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Hue/Saturation.

create a hue/saturation adjustment layer


3. Richt-click on the Hue/Saturation layer and select Create Clipping Mask.

create clipping mask

A small down arrow will now appear on the Hue/Saturation layer to show it will only affect the layer immediately underneath.release clipping mask


4. Now we can play with the sliders to change colour on just one layer.



5. Sliding the Hue slider left or right will change the shade of colours completely.

hue slider

changing colours in photoshop

change colour

6. The Saturation slider controls the strength of colour.

saturation slide

saturation adjustment

low saturation


7. The Brightness slider speaks for itself, it controls the brightness.

light adjustment in photoshop

increase brightness

lower brightness


8. All of the adjustments made have will change colour on just one layer.

colour changing in photoshop

changing colors in photoshop

Additional Resources

If you liked this we also have other methods to try and of course, our Raya Pro method. Read our Add Awesome Colours In Your Photos article. You might also like to learn how to Add Colour To Highlights For Beginners.

Online Resources

For a greater understanding of colour and how it can be manipulated in photoshop. I found this more in-depth article on how to Match, replace, and mix colors.

 Thank you for reading this article, be sure to sign up to our newsletter for more tutorials and great offers.

Thank you for reading this article, be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more tutorials and great offers.

Enter your email below and join our community of more than 100,000 photographers who have

  • Subscribed to our newsletter.
  • Downloaded our FREE Photoshop Course.
  • Use our FREE Easy panel in Photoshop.

Also you can now download our Photoshop course for beginners for FREE, click HERE.

FREE Photoshop Course

FREE Beginners Photoshop Course

The Art Of Photography

How To Become a Photographer

Raya Pro

What is the Best Photoshop Plugin

How To Change Colour On Just One Layer
Scroll to top


The FREE Luminosity Mask Panel

Join 100,000 subscribers who use the most popular free luminosity mask panel in the world