A color-inverted photo of a snake on a tree branch


Invert colors to create intriguing effects.

Discover how to invert colors, and see how switching them up in your photos can create unexpected works of art.

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How to switch up your color scheme. 

Flip your color scheme to its polar opposite in four easy steps, using the Invert tool in Photoshop:

  • Open your image file 

  • Add a new Invert layer

  • Create dimension 

  • Adjust your levels

What happens when you invert colors on a picture?

Color inversion traces its roots to analog photography. Inverting a traditional black-and-white film negative turns the dark areas light, transforming the negative into a positive — and recognizable —image.

With modern digital photography, on the other hand, the main reason to invert colors is to create a fun aesthetic. And the process to invert colors in Adobe Photoshop is so simple, it makes a quick way to create unexpected imagery.

An aerial photo of a beach
An aerial photo of a beach with its colors inverted

Experiment with color inversion.

When you invert a black-and-white photo, the white pixels become black pixels and vice versa. But if you invert a color image, the resulting photo will have a flipped color scheme. Photoshop will flip every color to its opposite on the RGB or CMYK color wheel. This means a vivid blue ocean becomes bright orange and a lush green field becomes magenta. 

A color-inverted photo of flowers

Create imaginative art.

Inverted photos show an image of the world, but in a totally unexpected way. This makes them perfect for abstract photography, photo collages, and fine art. They can also evoke a spooky, creepy, or mysterious atmosphere, making them great for Halloween aesthetics. 


Rework film negatives.

You can also use the Invert tool in Photoshop to transform your black-and-white film negatives into recognizable photos. With this process, you can adjust a photo like you would in the darkroom, but without all the chemicals. Use a scanner or digital camera to capture the negative you want, then refer to the steps below to invert the grayscale image and perfect its contrast and brightness.

How to invert color on a picture in Photoshop.

You can invert colors in Photoshop for endless creative purposes. Follow these easy steps to switch out the colors in any image.

1. Open the image.

Go to Photoshop and open your photo file.

2. Add a new Invert Layer.

To add a new layer, click into the Layers Panel, and then choose Invert from the drop-down menu. You can also create this window by choosing Layer › New Adjustment Layer › Invert from the top menu bar. This immediately flips all the colors in the image.

3. Create dimension.

Simply inverting the photo can make the colors look flat. To fix this, go to Layer › New Adjustment Layer › Levels. From there, you can adjust the Levels sliders to add dimension. You can also add and adjust a Brightness/Contrast layer to make the image high-contrast.

4. Adjust your levels.

View your histogram to get a sense of your full tonal range. Move your Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights sliders to add the final adjustments to your photo. From there, you can easily save your photo as a PNG, SVG, or JPG.

A color-inverted photo of lines on a sidewalk and a person walking over them

Take your photos further.

Color inversion is a simple, fun way to create unique images, but you can also combine effects to make something truly unexpected. After you invert colors on a picture, use the resulting image to create a double exposure and push your artistic vision into a whole new abstract world.


Or you can swap the colors in your photos and then invert the images. This will make your inverted colors appear even more mysterious. With the tools in Photoshop, you can transform your landscape images into alien realms or your portraits into colorful pop art. 

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