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How do I get the color palette of my photos?

Choosing the right color palette for your photos can elevate your images and make them more visually appealing. But how do you go about determining the dominant colors in a photo? Here are some tips for extracting a color palette from your images.

Use Adobe Color CC

One of the easiest ways to get the color palette of your photos is to use Adobe Color CC. This free online tool allows you to upload an image and will automatically generate a color palette based on the dominant colors it detects.

Here’s how to use Adobe Color CC to get your photo’s color palette:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the “Upload” button and select the photo file you want to use from your computer
  3. Adobe Color CC will analyze the image and create a color palette based on the five dominant colors it finds. You’ll see the color swatches and their hex codes.
  4. You can click on the color swatches to refresh the palette and get different variations. The number of colors can also be adjusted from 5-10.
  5. When you find a palette you like, click the “Save” icon to save it for use in your projects.

The great thing about Adobe Color CC is that it does all the work for you. Just upload your image and in seconds you’ve got a professional looking color palette extracted from your photo.

Use the Average Color Tool in Photoshop

If you have access to Adobe Photoshop, you can use the built-in Average Color tool to quickly get the dominant colors in your image.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open your image in Photoshop
  2. Select the entire image by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + A
  3. Go to Edit > Average Color
  4. The Average Color dialog box will open up, showing the hex codes and values of the average colors in the selection
  5. You’ll see swatches for the average colors like red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white
  6. Click on the color swatches to see their hex codes
  7. Use these colors in the average color palette for your image

The Average Color tool is handy because it lets you see the actual numeric color values. This can help ensure colors transition smoothly if you need to use them in a gradient, for example.

Try Paletton – Color Scheme Designer

Paletton is a free online tool designed specifically for creating color palettes and schemes. To extract a palette from your photo:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the “Import” tab in the toolbar
  3. Click “Choose file” and upload the photo you want to use
  4. Paletton will sample the colors from your image and generate a color palette
  5. You can edit the palette by clicking on each swatch. Use the sliders to fine-tune the shades.
  6. Click the “Export” button above the palette to save it as an image, PDF, or other file format

Paletton gives you more customization options compared to the other tools. You can really refine the palette until you get colors that work well together and suit your project.

Use Canva’s Color Palette Generator

Canva is a popular free graphic design tool. Lesser known is that Canva also has a handy color palette generator.

Follow these steps to get a palette from your photo in Canva:

  1. Go to
  2. Click the “Upload your own image” tab
  3. Click “Choose file” and upload your desired photo
  4. Canva will detect the main colors and generate a color palette
  5. You can click the sliders below each color to refine the shades
  6. Click the “Download PNG” or “Download JPG” buttons above the palette to save it

Canva’s palette generator is super simple to use. It’s great for getting a quick color scheme you can use for presentations, documents, web design, and more.

Extract Colors with GIMP

GIMP is a free open-source image editing program similar to Photoshop. It has a Color Picker tool that lets you sample colors from your photos.

Here is how to sample a color palette in GIMP:

  1. Open your photo in GIMP
  2. Select the Color Picker tool from the toolbox
  3. Click on the different areas of your photo to sample desired colors
  4. The color values will be displayed including the hex code
  5. Make note of the hex codes of colors you want for your palette
  6. You can also go to Colors > Color Picker to see a menu of sampled colors

It takes a bit more work than the other tools, but the Color Picker allows you to really hand pick the colors from specific parts of your image.

Use an Online Color Extractor

There are many free online color extractors that will identify the prominent colors in an image and generate a palette for you. Here are some options:

Most work similarly. You just upload your photo then the tool analyzes it and creates a color palette from the predominant colors. Some allow you to customize the extracted colors or number of swatches.

The advantage of online extractors is you don’t need to download any software. They work on any device with a web browser.

Use the Eyedropper in Microsoft Paint

The Eyedropper tool in Microsoft Paint allows you to sample colors from an image and get the hex code values. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open your image in Paint
  2. Select the Eyedropper tool from the toolbox
  3. Click on the colors in your image that you want to sample
  4. The RGB, Hue, Saturation, Luminance, and Hex values will be displayed
  5. Make note of the hex codes for your color palette

While basic, this method can be helpful if you just need to quickly grab a few colors from an image and don’t want to install any additional software.

Use Automator to Extract Colors on Mac

Mac users can extract a color palette using the built-in Automator app and this workflow:

  1. Open Automator on your Mac
  2. Select “New Document”
  3. Search for “Extract Image Colors” and add it to your workflow
  4. Set it to extract 5 colors
  5. Save your workflow
  6. Drag and drop your image onto the saved workflow
  7. The output will show the hex codes of the 5 dominant colors

Automator provides an easy way to extract a palette without installing any other apps. You can reuse the workflow on multiple images.

How to Choose the Right Colors for Your Palette

Once you’ve extracted the main colors from a photo, how do you decide which ones to use in your palette? Here are some tips:

  • Focus on 3-5 colors – Limiting your palette to 3-5 colors creates a more cohesive, sophisticated look.
  • Pick a dominant color – Your palette should have one dominant color that sets the tone. This will be the main color.
  • Include complementary colors – Choose shades that complement each other using color theory principles.
  • Distribute light and dark values – Have a balance of light and dark colors in your palette.
  • Consider tone and mood – Choose colors that reflect the emotion or story of your image.
  • Visualize use cases – Think about how you’ll use the colors to guide your selections.

Trust your instincts! The more you practice extracting and building color palettes, the more intuitive it will become.

Save and Export Your Palette

Once you’ve created your color palette in an app or online tool, don’t forget to export or save it! Here are some ways to save palettes:

  • Screenshot the palette colors
  • Save the palette image file or PDF
  • Copy and paste the hex codes into a text document
  • Save the palette in Adobe Color CC library
  • Export the CLUT file from Photoshop

Saving your palette makes it easy to access and use the colors in your projects across applications and mediums.

Apps to Manage and Organize Palettes

As you create more and more palettes, you may want an app to organize and manage them efficiently. Here are some options:

App Platform Key Features
Adobe Color Web, iOS, Android Sync palettes across devices, generate palettes from images, extract gradients
Coolors Web, iOS, Android Save an unlimited number of palettes, browse premade palettes for inspiration
Pic Colors iOS Extract palettes from camera photos or gallery, copy hex codes easily
ColorSlurp Mac, Windows Extract palettes from desktop images, customize number of colors

Using an app to organize your palettes keeps everything in one place so you can easily access and use your color schemes in your creative projects.


Determining the color palette of your photos opens up a world of possibilities for using those colors creatively. With the wide range of tools now available, it’s easier than ever to extract a palette. The key is finding a workflow that suits your needs and style.

So be bold, experiment with the various options, and have fun generating exciting new color schemes from your images. Just remember to always save your palettes once created so you can easily access those beautifully coordinated colors for all your visual projects.