farben aus fotos

3 tips on how to create your color palette from a photo

Would you like to create your own color palettes for your patterns and designs?

Nothing could be easier. Here are three ways to find your own color palettes for your projects.

If you shoot digitally, you probably already have a lot of digital images on your hard drive that you might like just because of the colors.

If you haven’t done photography before, you might want to start doing it to capture not only your favorite colors and color combos, but also motifs or textures that you can use as inspiration for your patterns. Your smartphone camera or a small digital camera will do just fine for this.

So how do you get your very special color palettes?


  1. Create a Color Palette in Adobe Illustrator®
  2. Create a Color Palette with Adobe Capture®
  3. Create a Color Palette in Adobe Photoshop®

1. Create a Color Palette in Adobe Illustrator®

Since I mainly work with Adobe Illustrator® at the moment, I usually pick my colors right in Illustrator.

It’s pretty easy to do. I used one of my photos of my roses and looked for how many different colors and shades I could get out of this image. And there are quite a few.

Farbe aus Foto mit Adobe Illustrator

What’s the best approach:

  1. Open the image in a new file.
  2. Pick up the color you like with the eyedropper from the toolbar.
  3. Drag the color in the color palette (see arrow in the color palette) to the area where the colors will be stored.
  4. Choose as many colors as you like.

To be able to use the colors again and again, just save them with a unique name in the library. I always use the ase format, because the colors can also be used in other Adobe programs like Photoshop or InDesign.

Farbe aus Foto mit Adobe Illustrator

2. Create a Color Palette with Adobe Capture®

The Adobe Capture® app is also a great way to get color from a motif.

Farbe mit Adobe Capture

When you open Adobe Capture®, you can choose from different options, as you can see in the photo. For this purpose, I chose the Colors option.

As soon as you have targeted a subject, five circles with different colors should appear. If this is not the case and only three connected color circles appear, simply click on the small rectangle at the very top in the center until the five circles show up.

The colors keep changing on their own until you tap the screen to fix them. If you don’t like one of the colors, you can move the circle around until you like the combination.

Accept the color combination with the photo button.

Then you can manually change the colors again if you want and save them in your Creative Cloud library.

3. Create a Color Palette in Adobe Photoshop®

If you prefer to create your designs and patterns in Photoshop, you may need the third option.

The example I used to get the color palette for my “City Summer Dust” collection is a photo from the pre-digital age – a scanned negative that is already twenty years old. But I liked the washed out colors that reminded me of a hot summer day in the city. However, the picture was taken in winter in New York just before Christmas :-), but nevertheless the colors were perfect.

In Photoshop, as in Illustrator, you can pick as many colors as you want for your palette.

Farben aus Foto mit Adobe Photoshop

What’s the best approach:

  1. Open a image in Adobe Photoshop®.
  2. Select a color with the eyedropper tool – see red circle in the toolbar.
  3. In the color selection boxes at the bottom left of the toolbar – green circle – the selected color appears as the foreground color.
  4. Draw a rectangle or square or whatever you want in a new layer with the selection rectangle tool – blue circle in the toolbar .
  5. Fill the rectangle with the fill tool, which looks like a paint bucket, with the foreground color. If you don’t like the color, simply choose another one and fill the rectangle again.

Save colors as palette

Farbe aus Foto

To save these colors as a color palette, click on the foreground color in the toolbar and select the third option “add to swatches” in the color picker window that pops up.

Give the color a name in the “Color swatch name” window. If the checkmark “Add to my current library” is set, the color field will be added in the Color swatches window (see window on the right in the picture above)

Now you can group your swatches and give the color palette a name.

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